Saturday, October 27, 2007
London (ANI): A photograph seized from an exhibition of Sir Elton John"s art collection has been proclaimed not indecent by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Northumbria Police confiscated the picture of two naked girls from Gateshead's Baltic gallery on 20 September.
“The evidence is insufficient to justify proceedings," the Sun quoted the CPS as saying in a statement. The CPS reached the same conclusion when it examined the photo, Klara and Edda Belly Dancing by American Nan Goldin, in 2001.
Kerrie Bell, head of the CPS Northumbria South Unit, said that to hold the picture indecent now, the CPS would have to be satisfied that “standards of propriety" had changed so much since 2001 that a court might also deem the photo to be indecent. She also revealed that she herself did not think that there had been such a great change in the standards.
"I am not satisfied that is the case. Even if the photograph was now considered to be indecent, a defendant would be able to raise a legitimate defence, given that the photograph was distributed for the purposes of display in a contemporary art gallery after having been deemed not to be indecent by the earlier investigation," the BBC quoted her as saying. "Accordingly, I am of the opinion that the evidence is insufficient to justify proceedings for offences of possession or distribution of an indecent photograph," she added.
The announcement of from the CPS has been welcomed by the Baltic, which said in a statement: "We are pleased that this matter has now been resolved. We endeavoured to cooperate with the authorities throughout, but at the same time are very disappointed that this incident necessitated the early closure of an important exhibition."
The "Thanksgiving" exhibition of 148 photographs owned by Sir Elton was due to run until 20 January, but it closed after nine days after the singer personally requested the organisers for the same.