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Taking on the CPS over voyeurism

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CWJ, DPP, CPS, voyeurism, Emily Hunt, crowdfunder, Unless we take the CPS to court, this will continue. And it needs to not continue.

The Centre for Women’s Justice launched a second judicial review this week against the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), this time on behalf of Emily Hunt – who has waived her anonymity – to challenge the bizarre refusal to prosecute a man who admitted filming Emily naked without her consent for the purpose of his own sexual gratification.

Despite cross-party political support and the government confirming that what happened to Emily is a criminal offence, the Crown Prosecution Service, (CPS), already under scrutiny for the alarming drop in prosecutions for rape, have maintained their decision not to prosecute.

As Emily explains in her crowdfunder appeal, her attacker took a 1 minute and 2-second-long video of her naked and unconscious on a hotel bed without her knowledge and without her permission.

He told the police that he took it to masturbate to later.

In his statement to the police, he said that he knew that he did not have her permission to take the video.

And he told the police that he knew that she would be upset if she woke up and found him videoing her.

The facts are not in dispute.

What is in dispute is whether or not it is against the law under the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 to video someone naked without their consent if you are in a private/personal/intimate setting with that person.

Currently the CPS believes that if someone is allowed to see you naked, they can video you.

Actually, no, that’s wrong.

They believe that if you cannot prove that you did not give consent for someone to see you naked, that they can video you.

That’s your partner who videos you without your consent; the heartbreaker who videos you without your knowledge the night before breaking up with you; that one night stand from last year. Even your friend’s abusive partner can video them without their consent or knowledge …

In short, anyone who you allow to see you naked can – under the CPS’s current reading of the law – take a video of you naked for their own personal sexual purposes. And you have no recourse.

Emily is now bringing a judicial review against the Crown Prosecution Service on Voyeurism, to settle once and for all whether or not it is legal for someone to video you naked without your consent for personal sexual purposes if they have been allowed to see you naked.

The government thinks that what happened to her is illegal. Her lawyers think that what happened to her is illegal. And indeed, so do 76 per cent of people in the UK, according to a survey carried out by Opinium.

Unless we take the CPS to court, this will continue. And it needs to not continue.

Emily has now launched a crowd justice campaign to raise sufficient funds to enable her to pursue these legal proceedings.

Talking about it, she said: “I frankly do not believe that I live in the sort of country that allows such an insane invasion of privacy.

“I do not believe that our laws as written (even if they were written back in 2003!) don’t see a difference between being seen and being videoed.

“To bring a Judicial Review, I need to prove that I can offer a reasonable sum of money towards the government’s legal costs if I lose.

“We need to raise £5k as quickly as possible.

“But realistically, we need a lot more than that to take the case all the way to trial. Your help is very, very appreciated.

“Should I win and the fund isn’t needed to cover the government’s costs, the money will go to the CWJ, the amazing people behind the judicial review that kept Black Cab Rapist John Worboys in jail, and also the lovely people who are currently helping me out.

“My case would set a precedent and so change the law going forward. This will mean that anyone in my position would be able to get justice when their privacy is violated in the most intimate way without consent.

“The only way to keep this from happening to anyone else in the UK, is to make sure that CPS prosecutes these cases.

“They can’t just decide to not read the law as written and ignore the government’s advice on what the law intended when it was passed. That’s why I’m taking them to court to force the issue.”

Harriet Wistrich, Director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, said: “It is hard to fathom why the CPS has taken such a cowardly approach to prosecuting sexual offences of late, in what is looking like systemic discrimination against women.

“The consequence is men are emboldened to continue to abuse women because they know there is little chance they will be held to account.”

To donate to Emily’s crowdfunder, click here.

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