3 June 2010

Shrieval breast inspectors...

In my humble juridical experience, few things mix together quite so satisfyingly as Her Majesty's judges and cases which touch on some mild matter of smut, perhaps leavened by a few references to "contemporary culture" - speech marks in the judicial original. The sadomasochistic (and highly unjust) case of R. v. Brown [1994] was a high watermark in the genre. Happily, this week furnishes us with an example of such drollery. Although largely missed out in the highfalutin' press, the Sun and a few others covered a decision by Sheriff Principal James Taylor of Glasgow & Strathkelvin to overturn a decision of Glasgow City Licensing Board of June 2009. Tragically, I can't seem to find a copy of the full judgement itself at present, hence what follows is a bit scrappy and a bit sketchy. The Glasgow Board, best I can make out, had denied the lap-dancing club -  piously entitled Seventh Heaven - a license under the relevant legislation, citing the nature of  one of the club's promotional fliers. This would-be enticing scrap of advertising, claimed the  Glasgow Board, showed an "unsuitably clothed" young lady. No license for you, they concluded. The club's owners appealed against this decision. This week, the Sheriff Principal determined that the club owners had the right of it and that the Glasgow Board's decision was unreasonable in the following terms:

"To judge that the flyer in question is unsuitable for the purpose of promoting a lap dancing nightclub and thus in breach of the policy code, is, in my opinion, wholly unreasonable. In short the licensing board's judgement is absurd. No reasonable licensing board properly applying their mind to the flyer could come to the view that the female depicted was unsuitably clothed. Only a very small part of the side of her breast is depicted in the photograph. There is certainly more breast exposed in certain daily tabloid newspapers. Indeed if one looks at adverts for perfumes and the like in magazines normally read by women, one sees more breasts exposed than in the flyer. In short, I can see nothing wrong in the degree of breast exposed. My attention was not drawn to any particular aspect of the model."
Sheriff Taylor also apparently:

...pointed out that many "evening dresses" worn by women would expose "more breast" than could be seen on the flyer.

Michty me!

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