A Crown Prosecution Service lawyer has suggested that visiting a sexual health clinic was an indication that the defendant engaged in unsafe sexual practices.
The lawyer was speaking during a cross examination in the ongoing obscenity trial of Simon Walsh, who has been charged with ‘possession of extreme pornographic images’ and ‘possessing an indecent photograph’.
‘People who attend sexual health clinics engage in more risky practices, do they not?’ said the lawyer.
Dr Clarissa Smith, who was given evidence in court when the question was asked, is reported to have responded, ‘No, people who attend sexual health clinics take their sexual health seriously.’
Dr Smith is a reader in sexualities and culture at the University of Sunderland.
Terrence Higgins Trust policy director, Lisa Power, has released a statement in protest to the suggestion that regular sexual health tests are anything more than part of a responsible attitude to sex.
She said, ‘Terrence Higgins Trust is concerned to learn that a Crown Prosecution Service barrister has suggested that attending a sexual health clinic infers that someone is engaged in more risky sexual practices.’
‘We have written to the Crown Prosecution Service asking them to clarify their barrister’s statement and to acknowledge that encouraging people who are sexually active in any way to get a sexual health check is both government policy and good practice.”
Walsh is a gay barrister and former London mayoral aide. He is being charged under section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 at Kingston Crown Court.
The material in question is an image of anal fisting that was sent to his personal email account.