No public morals

PUBLISHED: 12:42 10 June 2011

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I write concerning your article, or should I say "advertisement", for the services of prostitutes ("Sex bus heading for town?" May 26).

Your last paragraph states: “The passion wagon (mobile brothel) had been advertised on a recently withdrawn adult networking site.” Could this be because it is a criminal offence to “advertise by or on behalf of prostitutes”?

Advertising by third parties or on a prostitute’s behalf may amount to a conspiracy to corrupt public morals, Shaw v DPP 1962, or a conspiracy to outrage public decency, Knuller v DPP 1973.

Also, depending on the content, advertising a prostitute’s services may contravene the Obscene Publications Act 1959.

There may well be an offence under English Common Law, which, thankfully, still exists. There may be “a hole in the market”, lawyers prefer to call it a lacuna, however, it may not be that simple. To advertise locally would be a criminal offence and I trust that will be dealt with.

I presume the police and local authority will consider the ‘no overnight parking’ and the possibility of “conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace” and “unnecessary obstruction” along with the Common Law offence of “outraging public decency”, depending, of course, where they intend to park. There is the question of whether they are alone or with male minders!

Presumably your newspaper has no public moral stand at all, or you would not publish such a flippant report.

Obviously, these two prostitutes have done their homework and are aware that, to be a brothel, it must be a house, “a house or room, or set of rooms in any house kept for the purpose of prostitution”, Stevens V Christy 1987.

There is a term used by lawyers that someone has “driven a coach and horses” through the legislation - with a little bit of research and thought Devon and Cornwall police should be able to close the hole.

Rob Jerrard LLB LLM (London)

Retired City of London Police,

Internet Law Book Reviews,

(via email).

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