Bremner and Joy 20 Dec 1984 Court of Appeal – PIE


Some court reports have had victims names redacted and some assault details redacted.

This is a difficult balance –  normally I would think that  I should not “censor” details but on consultation with various people I have taken the decision to redact. This is mainly to protect victims, their friends and relatives from unnecessary detail and to stop the gratification of those who seek salacious details.

In addition to the obvious “victims redaction” to protect victims details, there may also be “assault redaction” across most of the spectrum of abuse. The assaults are left in the charges, but mainly redacted when repeated with reference to the individual. I have also redacted unnecessary detail of assaults.

Redaction may obscure sometimes the legal reason for the appeal, but should make no large difference to the vital information for researchers that these documents contain. That vital information is mainly names of the perpetrators, past addresses, institutions where assaults occurred, the actual charges the perpetrators faced, and dates – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate and this information enables the links between people and places and abuse at various times to be ascertained.

Some transcripts may have been subject to automatic reading software and whilst effort has been made to correct these, the text should not be regarded as definitive.  Common mistakes in reprinting here are that quotation marks are sometimes not correct, replaced by odd symbols.

If you think that the balance is not correct or that a particular redaction needs reconsideration, please say.

This appeal is unredacted  by cathy fox blog

Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog [1]

Index of Court Appeals on this blog [2]

EWCA Crim J1220-5   No. 6311/B/84


Thursday, 20th December 1984

Lord Justice O’Connor



David Peter Bremner

and David Arthur Joy

(Transcript of the Shorthand Notes of Marten Walsh Cherer Limited, Pemberton House, East Harding Street, London, EC4A 3AS. Telephone Number: 01-583 7635. Shorthand Writers to the Court).

MR. P. THORNTON appeared on behalf of the Appellant Bremner.

MR. S. LESLIE appeared on behalf of the Applicant Joy.


(As approved by Judge)

MR. JUSTICE MACPHERSON: David Bremner and David Joy were convicted at the Central Criminal Court on 13th November 1984 and were sentenced on the following day by H.H. Judge Owen. Bremner, for an offence contrary to section 11 of the Post Office Act 1953 (count 2), to 6 months’ imprisonment. He was acquitted of count 1, which was a joint count against these two men and a man named Smith, of publishing an obscene article, and of a number of other serious offences in relation to these matters. Joy, on count 1, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and on count 2 to 6 months’ imprisonment concurrent. He was likewise acquitted on counts 3, 4, 5 and 6, which were the serious matters to which I have already referred, Bremner has leave to appeal against sentence: Joy’s application for leave to appeal against sentence has been referred to the full court by the registrar.

The co-accused Smith absconded to Holland before the trial so that he took no part in these matters.

At the material time with which these offences were concerned in 1981 and 1982, Bremner and Joy were both members of an organisation known as the Paedophile Information Exchange, generally known as “P.I.E.”, whose object was said to be to advocate sexual relations between adults and consenting children and to compaign for such relations to be legalised. A Mr. Oxley had infiltrated P.I.E. in June 1981. He did some work and attended meetings of that organisation and its executive.

Among items sent by post to Mr. Oxley was a magazine entitled “Contact No. 6”, dated July 1982, which is the subject matter of counts 1 and 2. In particular, one article in that magazine, which had been translated by Joy, was the thrust of the allegations made by the Crown against these men. Smith’s name appeared in the indictment and it seems to have been accepted that he was most involved in the production of the article. But, as I have indicated, Joy translated the article and both these men were members of the executive which was responsible for the mailing of Contact No. 6 to the members of P.I.E.

On 17th May 1983 police officers interviewed Bremner and on 18th May they interviewed Joy. Neither admitted being involved in distributing the magazine, although Joy admitted being a member of P.I.E. They were both arrested and charged in due course. P.I.E., according to the papers, seems to have been disbanded in about August 1984.

The jury heard this case for some six days and, as I have indicated, they convicted Joy of counts 1 and 2 and Bremner of count 2.

Bremner is 45 years old and had one previous court appearance in 1978 for three charges of indecent assault on three separate boys for which he was given suspended sentences. Joy is 43. He had one previous court appearance in 1980 for five charges of indecent assault for which he was given suspended sentences.

We have been referred in some detail in the course of this appeal to the sentencing remarks of the learned judge, which we have fully taken into account. The judge indicated that if Joy had been convicted of the incitement offences, his sentence would of course have been much heavier.

In the case of Joy the grounds of appeal set out that the sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment is excessive. Mr. Leslie indicates that that is the heart of his application today. He says that to be in prison even for a short time for a man convicted of offences of this kind is a crushing matter, and that 18 months was too long. In this court it was to be noted that he criticised the learned judge’s approach to the matter, referring to more than one extract from the sentencing remarks, where the judge dealt with the possible corrupting effect of the article and the intent in the mind of the accused man. It is to be noted and stressed that in the notice of appeal these grounds do not appear, and the court would wish to indicate that it is wrong where a judge is to be roundly criticised in that fashion that the notice of appeal should not expressly state the grounds.

As the judge said in sentencing these two men, it is important to remember that a jury convicted them both and in the case of Joy found that he was involved in the publication of an obscene article, and in the case of both of them that they played their parts in the distribution of indecent material. The two oases were of course different and the judge, as Mr. Leslie accepts, marked the distinction by his overall sentences.

We propose to deal first with the application of Joy. It is argued that his sentence is too long. It is true that the matter is to some degree old in the sense that the distribution of this article took place some 2½ years ago. It is also true that P.I.E. no longer functions. That of course may be as a result of its exposure and the prosecution of these men. But the judge took all these relevant matters into account. He heard the case for six days and heard their evidence and saw them himself. The article found to be obscene is plainly so and it is important, as the judge said, that intellectual respectability should not cloak the offence of which the jury found Joy to be guilty. In our judgment, the judge was not wrong in what he said about the tendency of this article to corrupt, and in his assessment of the jury’s finding so far as intent was concerned, he was also correct. He was, in the judgment of this court, perfectly right in his reasoning on sentencing on count 1 in the case of Joy. In all the circumstances that sentence was perfectly proper. Joy’s application is refused.

As to Bremner, he received a sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment for his part in the distribution of this article. He knew that it would be circulated and, in counsel’s words today, he knew that the general tenor of the magazine was indecent; but he did not know that obscenity would be contained in it. He told Mr. Oxley that he wished the magazine to be within the law. But he held the post office box number of P.I.E. and was therefore certainly responsible for its in-coming mail, and he was also a member of the executive which were together responsible for for all that emanated from that organisation.

We do not read the case of R. v. Stamford (1972) 2 Q.B. 391 , as limiting the object intended to be achieved to the protection of the post office workers. It is intended to preclude the use of post office services for the distribution of indecent material. Abuse of the mail is the offence, in a phrase. Such abuse is plainly made out in the circumstances of this case. We certainly do not believe that the relevant subsection is aimed at the risk of accidental opening by post office workers. Furthermore, in so far as those who choose to abuse the mail believe from any report which may be made to them that prison sentences should not follow conviction under section 11, we do not agree that that is right. We echo the words of Bridge L.J. in R. v. Marion Smith , where he said towards the end of his judgment: “It may be that the time has come when the policy of the court towards such offences when they are brought to book ought to be more severe than it has been”.

In Bremner’s case there was reference by counsel to the use of the word “publication” at page 3B by the trial judge. It is said that the judge in using that word may have been regarding Bremner as more likely to have been guilty of count 1 than count 2. But in fact the judge was dealing at that time with a defence submission that Bremner had only a limited appreciation of the nature of the article sent through the post. We see no grounds on which that use of the word can be objected to on behalf of Bremner.

The cases cited show what the position is. If the mail is abused an offence is committed and the jury so found. In the judgment of this court, 6 months was a perfectly proper sentence. The appeal of Bremner against that sentence on count 2 is accordingly dismissed.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.
  • National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups.
  • One in Four [C]
  • Havoca [D].
  • Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog.
  • Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area
  • A Prescription for me blog Various emotional support links [M]
  • ShatterBoys -“Male Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse Inspiring change, Through Shared Experience Whilst Building Connections…Together We Can Heal[N]
  • Fresh Start Foundation Scottish not for profit group, helping child sexual abuse victims & survivors  [P]


[1] Index of Newspaper and Journal articles on this blog

[2] Index of Court Appeals EWCA on this blog

Let justice be done though the heavens fall – Fiat justitia ruat cælum

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
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3 Responses to Bremner and Joy 20 Dec 1984 Court of Appeal – PIE

  1. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court and Court of Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathy fox blog on child abuse

  2. Pingback: Links of cathyfoxblog posts 2013 – 2021 | cathy fox blog on child abuse

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