On the outing of gay offenders in the press

Around about the time we blogged the story on how many gay men have contemplated suicide, the Belfast Telegraph published a story on ‘cottaging’ in Coleraine. It caused something of a storm of protest, since it not simply published the names of the men involved, but their photographs as well. We re-print two of the letters sent in in protest, which outline important concerns about such graphic outing. The name of the first has been withheld for fear of attacks:

Dear Editor,

I was deeply disturbed when I saw last night that you had printed photographs of seven of the ten men convicted of a cottaging offence in Coleraine which merited a fine.

I have never seen photographs, and so many of them, in your newspaper in relation to such minor magistrates court appearances.

Your story itself made clear that there had been an unprecedented campaign of violence including a “potentially fatal” arson attack against a number of these men since their first court appearance. You report the magistrate as saying that “he condemned attacks on a number of the defendants, some of whom were forced to flee their homes as a result.”

Why then make those men even more identifiable?

The Coleraine police chief Superintendent Dawson G. Cotton has admitted that he was unaware of draft PSNI guidelines that had been long circulated, based on those of ACPO, which lay out a graduated response in such situations and lay emphasis on the use of cautions in the first instance. In his defence he added “cautions were not appropriate given the seriousness of the offence.
This view was later supported by the Public Prosecution Service”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Alistair Fraser, is now investigating whether his response was in line with their endorsement of section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act which requires an even handed and non-discriminatory approach in public policy.

It is well recognised that investigations of this type lead to suicide in perhaps 10% of cases. I can give you instances. Indeed it is feared that one unexplained death in the locality already, involving a man missing for several weeks, is related.

I hope when you come to publish an editorial later today or tomorrow on the government’s new suicide policy you consider and review your own decision to publish those photographs. Or hold your peace.

To the Editor,

Today I had the unenviable task of informing one of my clients that his photograph had appeared in the Belfast Telegraph, in connection with an offence committed in a Coleraine convenience. This information floored him. Given what had been said by the magistrate about the harassment, threats and violent acts, as well as criminal damage to property that those charged had faced, and the appeal by the court that the press look at this issue sensitively, there was some hope that the men involved would not have had their lives put in further danger by an action as callous as this.

This man’s life has; he has lost his job, suffered abuse and humiliation, and has been forced to flee his home and his town. He has been forced to seek emergency accommodation at a secret location because of threats passed on to him by the PSNI. He is completely and utterly traumatised by his treatment at the hands of the police and by the rampant homophobia he has experienced. All this was made clear to the court. His vulnerability and suffering was clear for all to see and for those too blind to notice all this, it was reiterated by the magistrate.

The team at the Belfast Telegraph should be ashamed of itself. The action it has taken has ensured that all involved are now recognisable, and it has placed all those involved in greater danger than before. It was a totally unjustifiable action and served no purpose – these men pose no risk, as was made clear in probation service reports. There is no public safety issue to be served in this instance. This was simply about ensuring complete humiliation and selling papers in a way that panders to the lowest of standards.

The Belfast Telegraph, as the most widely read paper in Northern Ireland, has a responsibility to report the news, not make the news. The headlines, ‘Paper puts Lives at Risk’, or ‘Journalist Ensures Complete Humiliation’ would have been more appropriate. I appeal to the Belfast Telegraph to abandon this cheap and nasty style of journalism, better suited to the British tabloids of of the 1980’s. This story could have been covered so as to serve the public interest, without placing these men in further danger.

Your paper could have heeded the court, but instead chose to try and titillate its readership with the shabby sex scandal approach to journalism. In the same issue your paper carried an article about homophobia and suicide; clearly you have no concept of what the article was about. Your paper has fallen into the gutter and is most definitely not looking at the stars.

David McCartney
The Rainbow Project

,

  • slug

    I do think that it was wrong of the Belfast Telegraph to publish the photos.

  • Keith M

    Cottaging is illegal and quite often involves minors. The BT has a public service duty to report people who have broken the law and are a potential threat to minors. The gay community would be better served by disowning people like this rather than trying to defend them.

    The link with suicide is disgraceful. It’s tantamount to saying “let me break the law or I’ll kill myself” and is an insult to the families and friends of those affected by suicide.

  • Yokel

    Don’t do it in the first place eh lads..

    Groups in one place attract attention..

  • Yokel

    Keith..its a cry for help..no really it is…How hard (no pun intended) is it for them to actually go to a house and do it behind closed doors and be discreet? The reason they do it is not some kind of isolation by society that leaves them with no option, its dodgy activity for the thrill of it and anyone who defends them had better be one hell of a persuader. They know what happens if they get noticed, they know how some people will react yet they do it anyway and its illegal to boot. No legs to stand on.

  • Mick Fealty

    I would point out that the complaint in the letters above related to the publishing of photographs of the men, and the handling of the crime. Neither are an explicit defence of the crime itself.

  • joinedupthinking

    Journalism of the worst kind.

    Why not print similar stuff on those picking up prostitutes near the City Hall?
    It could wreck marital relationships, cause people to lose their jobs and subject them to public humiliation, presumably.
    Printing these photos etc. could cause people to be attacked in their homes – but that doesn’t seem to matter.

  • On a point of order here…

    “BT has a public service duty to report people who have broken the law and are a potential threat to minors”

    That’s a dangerous road to go down, gay does not mean paedophile.

    Congratulations to the Belfast Telegraph all the same, I always was curious which paper in the world would win the much talked about “race to the bottom” and finaly we have a champion.

    Absolutely sickened by their vindictive publishing strategy on this one, never bought the rag before to be honest, and certainly never will now.

  • Keith M

    Mick, it is quite common to photograph and publish photographs of offenders, especially in cases where there is public interest. If these people are worried about their safety, them perhaps it might be an idea to refrain fromm have sex in public (just a thought!).

    PopeB “That’s a dangerous road to go down, gay does not mean paedophile. ” Where have I said it does? These people may or may not be gay (many involved in cottaging are married with children), but they ARE obviously prone to sexual experimentation and that often does go as far as paedophilia. I say this as someone who believes that the age of consent should be 16 for all sexes and sexual orientations.

  • Yokel

    Mick & Joinedup

    The crime bit is hopefully not in dispute but this really was a case of putting themselves out there to be shot at, hence some of the lack of sympathy. Sad fact, some people don’t like gays, wrong as they may be that isn’t going to be an overnight change. Unbelieveable but true fact, some stupid gay people in Coleraine don’t help their cause with this kind of business. This only emphasises the queer pervert stereotype.

    The handling (whoopsie..another double entendre) of teh crme is to be expected. Joined up, really, they should think before they do this kidn of thing. If you get caught there is always the chance of a picture getting out, so dont do it illegally! Anyway, I’ve alays believed in criminals being plastered all over the papers, let the public know…it serves a double purpose..the public is aware and those who carry out of vigilante action also get lifted because the likelihood is many of them are dodgy characters to begin with. Win win!

  • Animus

    The fact is minors weren’t involved. Some of these men may have been married and weren’t able to go behind closed doors. A church elder is probably not going to go to a gay club, so opportunities are few and far between. I’m not condoning the act, but as someone who has had sex in public places with my straight partner, I say live and let live. Does that make me a pervert?

    I can understand that people don’t want to watch people having sex in public. I look forward to seeing the faces of the many men who urinate up walls every weekend in full view of any passersby. That’s illegal too. Crackdown!

    Keith – sexual orientation does not mean experimenting with sex with children. You should have your mouth washed out (keyboard scrubbed down) for making such an inflammatory and grossly incorrect statement. Most paedos are heterosexual men. Many people experiment sexually beyond vanilla missionary sex, that doesn’t make someone who likes receiving oral sex (thought to be deviant by many others) to consider sexual acts with children.

  • Keith,

    “but they ARE obviously prone to sexual experimentation and that often does go as far as paedophilia”

    My apologies, I see now that you meant anyone who deviates from missionary position sex must be more likely to become paedophiles? Correct me if I’m wrong…

  • Ziznivy

    In fairness it was the patrons of Coleraine’s toilets who were “racing to the bottom(s)” the quickest.

  • J Kelly

    Lets get real the BT publish seven photographs of people who were fined for an offence. How many drunken drivers are fined every day of the week and better still how many find their photograph in the BT. Terrible journalism.

  • Keith M

    J Kelly : “How many drunken drivers are fined every day of the week and better still how many find their photograph in the BT.” Perhaps they should be. I’m a great believer in name and shame. If offenders knew that they would end up in the papers it might act as a deterant.

    PopeB : You’re wrong. Perhaps experimentation was the wrong word but I’m loathe to use the word deviancy, but I think that’s what most people would say about those that get involved in organisiong sex sessions in public toilets.

  • Keith M,

    I disagree, and that being the case, I don’t believe there is any public interest to be served in printing those mens photographs in the paper.

  • J Kelly

    Keith M thats a completely different argument on the reporting of crime by the media.

  • Daisy

    Yokel, you seem very keen to point out any (piss poor, if I may say) double entendre you make. Either you think we’re too stupid to pick up on the subtleties of your amazing wit or it’s projection. More likely, however, it’s because you’re argument is so ridiculous that you have to disguise it with ‘humour’. Don’t give up the day job.

  • mickhall

    Tell me please, what is the public interest in publishing these photos, remember this offense is regarded as cautionably.

    This is a clear case of the editor of the BT putting his own prejudices into practice and to hell with the consequences.
    Just think for a moment if you were the child, wife or mother of one of these men, should they have to be punished for their partner/parents/offsprings foolishness.

    The court punished them, this is an outrageous attempt, which succeeded to punish the men twice. The editor of BT should be sacked for this act, that there has not been any campaign to bring this about tells us a great deal about homophobia in the north,

    A shameful act because Freedom of the press is something of great value and not something which should be used by an editor to punish or display petty prejudice. Where is Peter Tatchell when you need him.

  • Yokel

    Daisy

    The point is that its mean’t to be obvious, the idea is not the double entendre in itself but the emphasising of the double entendre.

    If you missed that, there ya go but bless ya anyway.

    MickHall

    I have to say I am surprised they did publish and actually the article passed me by but my point still holds, history suggest stuff like this will get out and probably in fairly sensationalist manner. Those who were involved should have put some thought into it.

    For those for who suggest they are married etc, theres plenty of buildings called hotels and so forth. It’s the thrill fator that motivates them not the pressure to hide.

    There ya go Daisy..no emphasising of anything.

  • Yokel

    Has yer rage and righteous annoyance calmed down now? I hope so, its nto good for your health.

  • mickhall

    After a little thought, for me what this looks like is the BT editor being buttoned holed at some do or other by either a senior policeman of politician who said something like, “outrageous those perverts in the toilets, we cannot have that sort of thing going on here, Coleraine is not bloody Soho. Pity we cannot put the fear of god into all such people by splashing photographs of those convicted of cottaging across the newspapers.

    By the way, the Chief Constable/leader of the party thought you might like to send someone along to interview him.

    So one dirty deed is followed by another, which caused the most harm I wonder.

  • Keith M

    J Kelly “.. thats a completely different argument on the reporting of crime by the media.”, Then why did you introduce it? Whether someone is charged with a serious or lesser crime the principal remains the same, I support “name and shame” as a deterrant.

  • Animus

    Yokel

    How do you know so much about the motivations of cottagers? Do you honestly think a hotel which rented rooms IN COLERAINE wouldn’t blab to the police if men came in together, stayed an hour and left? Your name is certainly apt. To be gay and have to hide it from your family would be bad enough in itself, but really, without outing these people, where do you suggest they go to be discreet?

    Keith

    Deviant sexual practice is not the same as experimentation, and deviant isn’t necessarily bad, just a variation on the norm. It’s not a value judgment. You still haven’t admitted you are mistaken likening experimentation to child sex. Shame on you.

  • joinedupthinking

    The BT, or whoever at the paper made the decision, is guilty of rampant homophobia masquerading as “concern for the community”.
    The splashing of the photos was wildly disproportionate.
    It could cause all sorts of problems for the people involved and their families including violent assault and being driven from their homes.
    Again I ask, why if concern for community was the motivating factor there has been no similar highlighting of the punters who use the prostitutes close to Belfast City Hall?
    I wouldn’t agree with that either, but it does show the bias in attitude.

  • Baluba

    This is scandalous reporting especially in a place where homophobia and related attacks are rife. Showing these men in that way is saying ‘here, they are, they had sex in a toilet, they’re dangerous….’ and whatever other conclusions people will then jump to.

    Arrest them and prosecute them by all means if necessary (repeat offence or whatever), but ruining their lives by publicising it is unethical reporting in my book.

  • RmcC

    We’ll likely never know what prompted the excessive use of photos. Mickhall’s scenario seems as good a theory as any.

    The whole thing stinks. It’s obvious there’s an anti-gay agenda here. And no, we won’t be seeing more photos of rapists, drunken drivers and others.

    Not unless they’re GAY rapists, drunken drivers and others.

  • lib2016

    Its no consolation for those people who had their lives ruined but one can only hope that the Tele learns that this is a good way to lose readers.

    I grew up in the bleak 1950’s and today’s ‘Slugger’ brings it all back, from the censorship of the WiP in North Down to this. Which way to the book-burning?

  • urquhart

    Keith M: “BT has a public service duty to report people who have broken the law and are a potential threat to minors”

    This reminds me of a great scene in BBC’s The Office:

    It’s training day and the harried external trainer is trying to get the staff of Wernham Hogg to focus on an exercise.

    It’s the well worn exercise asking people to work out how the farmer can transport the fox, the chicken and the grain across the river, when only one thing at a time fits in the boat.

    “Where’s the farmer’s wife” asks Gareth.

    “He doesn’t have one” says Tim.

    “Of course he has one” counters Gareth, “all farmers have wives”.

    “Not this one” says Tim, “he’s gay”.

    Gareth is incensed: “Well then, he shouldn’t be allowed to look after animals”.

    I suspect the reason it comes to mind is because it shows a similarly shit understanding of human sexuality and gay people. A disgraceful post.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Animus: “The fact is minors weren’t involved. ”

    In this instance… Keith was speaking somewhat more broadly.

    Animus: “Some of these men may have been married and weren’t able to go behind closed doors.”

    What, there are no hotels, no hostels, no rooms-to-let? Nary a “no-tell motel” within the whole of Belfast?

    Animus: “A church elder is probably not going to go to a gay club, so opportunities are few and far between. I’m not condoning the act, but as someone who has had sex in public places with my straight partner, I say live and let live. Does that make me a pervert?”

    The key word in your statement is ‘public.’ The act (no double entendre intended) was a public one. All BT has done, essentially, is take that discrete public act and make into a public public act. If they didn’t want to be seen, take it to a room… or at least a better hiding place. Its a game… “can we get away with it.” In every game, there must be rules and penalties. This is the penalty.

    On the other hand, the BT has really gone from scrapping the bottom of the barrel straight through to the padding underneath the linoleum underneath the barrel. Just because something is public and, arguably, of interest to the public, does not necessarily make it news… the problem is that it sells papers.

    And, no, it makes you kinky, just as playing with feathers make you kinky… its playing with the whole chicken would make you a pervert.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    PFB16: “I disagree, and that being the case, I don’t believe there is any public interest to be served in printing those mens photographs in the paper. ”

    Oh, there’s plenty of public interest — the same as with a train-wreck or Kitty Genovese…

    There’s just no real news purpose.

  • Animus

    Yes, Keith was speaking more broadly about something that is wholly unsubstantiated. All of the men involved were adults, so the discussion of minors is irrelevant.

    Yes, I guess they could go to a no-tell motel in Belfast, but it’s a long drive just to get a blow job. It would involve immense planning and c’mon, that’s not how people work. I certainly agree that they should have found a better hiding place, but publishing photos is disproportionate to the crime. What next, chopping of hands for theft?

  • Valenciano

    “I’ve alays believed in criminals being plastered all over the papers, let the public know…it serves a double purpose..the public is aware and those who carry out of vigilante action also get lifted because the likelihood is many of them are dodgy characters to begin with. Win win!”

    Yes a wonderful strategy indeed. Who cares if a few people end up hospitalised for months or have their homes firebombed, their kids or family bullied so long as we catch a few people who *might* have carried out vigilanteism.

    As a crime prevention tactic it’s up there with handing out free switchblades to teenagers or posting the phone numbers of heroin dealers and then arresting those who go there to buy gear. In the USA that sort of thing is called entrapment and is generally illegal, shame that similar safeguards don’t exist in the UK.

    Name and shame anyway is a primitive tactic. The modern equivalent of putting people in the stocks for a few days to let a few yobs throw tomatoes at them. Besides that as a punishment it seems wildly disproportionate as those who engage in public sex whether gay or straight are hardly harming anyone are they?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Animus: “I certainly agree that they should have found a better hiding place, but publishing photos is disproportionate to the crime. What next, chopping of hands for theft? ”

    sex, scandal and blood, for better or for worse, make people stop and stare. They also sell papers, particularly if you can get two or more into the same story. BT is making a cold calculation — their move will sell papers and any blowback hits the perpetrators, not them.

    Maybe its time to dust off an ould Irish economic tactic of the boycott? The BT will do these things so long as there is no personal imposition – and harsh language is not an imposition.

    And were I someone with a great deal to lose, like a church leader, I would make the time and effort to not drop trow without at least concealment, if not hard cover, on all four sides.

  • Animus

    Animus…this is an organised group, they didnt all just randomly find themselves there by accident. Surely to god they could work out something less public. I have no interest whatsoever in what they do in their own space as long as no-one gets hurt or coerced.

    Secondly, if you can disprove my view that its the thrill as much as anything in this case you go ahead. If all they wanted was some sexual stimulation in a purely mechanical sense then people can do it in the back of a car, ok not perfect but not out so much in the open, not stand with a group around a public spot. The fact they were a group yet none of them appeared to say ‘wait lets think this out’ would perhaps lend credence to the idea that it is the very group and public nature of the actvity that had them going there as much as the actual mechanics of the activity.

    I’m waiting for your reply, if you want to challenege my view that half the issue is the public & group nature and the attendant thrill they get from it then you put me down evidence that its wrong. How come many gay people can manage to sustain relationships, even if they have to be quiet for various reasons not least that they may sadly be attacked (or the wife migth find out). Couldn’t these people do that?

    Joinedupthinking, the media reports the spectacular and anything that can be sensationalised. Whether we like it or not compared to Joe in his motor up the back of city hall this is sectacular and easiy sensationalised.

    Oh and Animus, what if I was psychologist?

  • Yokel

    Y’on post above..was by Yokel..not Anims.

  • abcd

    “And were I someone with a great deal to lose, like a church leader, I would make the time and effort to not drop trow without at least concealment, if not hard cover, on all four sides. ”

    So, what you’re saying is, that you would use the cubicle??? ;p

  • Yokel

    Valenciano..

    taking notes…switchblades to youths….stocks…

  • mickhall

    Pity the Belfast Telegraph did not take its responsibility to publish photos of criminals when children were actually being buggered.
    Or have we all forgotten about the Kincora Scandal.

    The funny thing is the types who demand that these men, who were all consenting aduldts were outed would be just the type who would claim it was against the national interest to expose the pedophiles who participated in the Kincora Scandal. [I do not mean any of the posters to this thread]

    Doubly standards and hypocracy, it makes you weep.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    DC”And were I someone with a great deal to lose, like a church leader, I would make the time and effort to not drop trow without at least concealment, if not hard cover, on all four sides. “

    ABCD: “So, what you’re saying is, that you would use the cubicle??? ;p ”

    Hadn’t yet… and that’s incomplete concealment… and there’s the matter of noise…

    Then again, exhibitionism ain’t *my* kink. 😉

  • Yokel

    Dread you gave me a business idea….sound proof cubicles. Guaranteed to block out loud noises of all types including farting, those watery splashes and sex acts…I think that would keep many people happy…just need a name. QuietTime Cubicles with Shitsilent technology (patented, copyright I’ll send out Bob MCartney QC to sue ya).

    James Dyson, James Dyson I’m taking yer inventors crown son. Anyone knwo how much it costs to run an informercial on UK BrightIdeas TV?

  • Yokel

    Mickhall

    Times have changed, i suspect Kincora now would get much more sensationalist treatment alright. Whether thats a good or bad well depends on what peopl’s vews are and what motivates those views.

  • Animus

    Just googled some research and the reason stated in case studies for cottaging is the relative anonymity and the fact that it’s quick, easy and they aren’t looking for a relationship (some of the men in the case studies had partners). Some also used bars and nightclubs, but some didn’t. All of the case studies were out gay men. I’m not justifying the behaviour – just pointing out why it might happen. Why do kids smoke behind the bike sheds? It’s just a bit further on the spectrum.

    You may be a psychologist Yokel, and if so, please enlighten us with your knowledge. I asked what you knew about the motivations of cottagers and some evidence to back it up.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Animus: “Just googled some research and the reason stated in case studies for cottaging is the relative anonymity and the fact that it’s quick, easy and they aren’t looking for a relationship (some of the men in the case studies had partners). Some also used bars and nightclubs, but some didn’t. All of the case studies were out gay men. I’m not justifying the behaviour – just pointing out why it might happen. Why do kids smoke behind the bike sheds? It’s just a bit further on the spectrum. ”

    Stipulating the above, the men in question were aware that their actions were against the law, yes? Even if they weren’t, ignorance of the law has never really been a good defense. Therefore, they assumed a level of risk… you pays your money and you takes your chances when you spin the wheel. Besides, explaining the “why” of these men’s actions is moot — the issue / problem / outrage is BT’s “piling on” after the play.

  • TAFKABO

    A woeful lack of empathy and understanding of gay sexuality on ths thread, probably a fair representation of society as a whole.
    If someone is vilified and attacked because of their chosen religion, or the way they practice it, people are rightly outraged, but some of the very seem people take an extremely casual attitude to the same kind of thing when it ismotivated by sexuality rather than religion.
    Surely hate is hate, and ought to be dealt with acrosss the board?

    And as for the laughably self deluding comments that if only these men had carried out their actions in the privacy of a hotel room, no one would have minded?
    Ask Paul Berry about that one, look what happpened when he was alleged to have done some things in private.
    Every now and then I am reminded of how wise it was to leave Northern Ireland, this thread and this story are just such a reminder.

  • Animus

    Yes, DC, I agree that the real problem is the Telegraph’s hyprocritical and sensationalist attitude.

    But earlier posts on this thread implied that they should be named and shamed and treated out of proportion for what they’ve done. I didn’t mean to get into a motivation thing to justify behaviour, only to elicit a shred of compassion for these men. I also don’t think such heavy fines were necessary.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Animus: “But earlier posts on this thread implied that they should be named and shamed and treated out of proportion for what they’ve done. I didn’t mean to get into a motivation thing to justify behaviour, only to elicit a shred of compassion for these men. I also don’t think such heavy fines were necessary. ”

    Opinions are like… bellybuttons — everyone has one.

    Those that are going to feel compassion for these men won’t need your arguements and those that won’t aren’t going to be swayed. As for the fines… *shrug*

    Like I said, exhibitionism isn’t really my kink, so I’m not as sympathetic on that issue — were it, I might. Your mileage will vary.

  • Yokel

    Animus, my googling also shows the word thrill coming up…..you have no more than me, there is no overwhelming proof or disproof of my view, nor yours.

    TAKFABO, if someone said ‘queers, all nasty’ you’d have a point. I haven’t yet seen a fairly undisguised attack on homosexuality (well ok maybe with one exception where you can maybe see it rumbling)on this post. Where people run out of sympathy is that a) this was organised, b) it was in a publc place

    What understanding of gay sexuality? Isn’t it broadly much the same at is core as straight sexuality, its just they choose to form their sexual and life relationships with people of the same sex. Straight and gay have thrill seekers, have adulterers, have pedophiles, have abusers of other kinds, have bad people, have good people. Now if I’m wrong there then possibly I need to think of gay people as different or special which defeats the point of acceptance. Accceptance is about understanding that people are just like you first before accepting that they have differences. Sadly in NI acceptance seems to be all about trying to make certain groups different from others, much of which is encourage by the groups themselves who want to be different and don’t want commonality at pretty much any cost.

    What really hacks me off is what sometimes comes across from many people in the gay lobby (and no I’m not saying anyone on here is in the gay lobby) this ‘we are just like you’ then another time its ‘we are different’ attitude. Who you shag or choose to set up relationships with, male or female, is not a major difference in day to day life. They can’t have it both ways (Daisy I swear i won’t point out the double meaning there).

    What this thread is about has become about is a) was the BT right to do what it did and b)do you have any sympathy with those how involved. Gay sexuality in itself never came up substantially in the vast majority of posts.

    As for Paul Berry, I thought about that one previously he got grassed on alright..because he was Paul Berry, thats part of the fame game so to speak. That had as much to do with it than anything. If he was Paul Berry the anonymous welder from somewhere else, would it have got out? Doubt it….You know that TAKFABO which is why he hasnt come up much in this topic.

    Read it again TAKFABO, ffs read the topic again……….

  • TAFKABO

    Yokel

    It has been mentioned a few times in the thread, but there is a difference between the treatment of thse men and other men arrested for soliciting the uses of prostitutes.
    the men who broke the law by soliciting (and before you or anyone else claims it as a vicitmless crime, I point out that they often stop and harrass women who are not prostitues but happen to be passing through a designated area) do not have their faces plastered over the media.
    In contrast, these men arrested for cottaging, do.

    So, your hypothetical “Paul Berry the anonymous welder” can expect to be treated in a markedly different way depending on whether or not his minor crime is hetereosexual or homosexual in nature.
    And as for the more well known Paul Berry, is it not the case that he wouldn’t have had a tenth of the publicity had his alleged partner been of the opposite sex?

  • Joe

    Don’t people here know the difference between unlawful and illegal?

    Unlawful is against the law.

    Illegal is a sick bird.

  • Yokel

    Sorry Animus I didnt really answer the point.

    My point was it was my view, Neither your counter to my view or my view itself is actually necessarily any more backed up by experts or indeed personal testimony of those who get involved because you’ll get both views. No I’m not a psychologist by practice, though I am by training. My view is that to indulge in public practices, with groups involved whether they pair off or not suggests more than a simple need for sex in itself. It’s got to have an extra element to take the risks involved and as this case proves, there are serious risks.

  • Animus

    Well my view was based on a statistically robust study of men who engaged in cottaging. But I see your point. (Psychology is a soft science anyway – I studied psy at university and it’s great for personality tests on the internet, but like you say, people will find the theory that suits them.)

    As for risks, people understand the risks of smoking, but continue to smoke. Awareness of risk does not alter behaviour in all cases.

    What is really comes down to is: the punishment should fit the crime. The additional punishement meted out to the men by the BT shows a shocking level of homophobia and hatred and should be condemned, not congratulated.

  • Yokel

    TAKFABO

    I’m going to wash my car after this..

    1. ‘Paul Berry caught with massage call girl!’ ‘Holier than thou god botherer and married man Paul Berry was grassed up as visting a massage girl who provides exras’

    Yep it would get pretty much as much publicity

    2. Prostitution: it wasn’t mentioned by me because I dont think it was relevant comparison to this case so I’m not sure why you raise it. Prostitution is different situation which sometimes doesn’t have victims sometimes does. If someone was nailed for humping a prostitute in a public toilet would I have any more sympathy, no, i owuldnt have any there either.

    If you can explain to me why bringing prostitution in to my argument is relevant and where I need to prvide an answer I will seek to do so.

  • Declan

    Is anyone going to stand up for the gay community (and I would guess a larger part of the non gay population) in saying that sex in public is not deviant?
    How many Queens students have had had sex outside?

    Sex in public is not socially acceptable, but its not deviant and it isn’t a serious crime.

    This is a petty offence that has been made an issue by the rampant homophobia in Nireland.

    I’m not advocating (or comdemning) a particular sexual practice, thats not my place.
    You (and I) cannot understand what it must be like to be a member of the LGBT community in NIreland.
    There is a clear link between homophobia and suicide. The BT could well have had blood on its hands over this.
    I pray that these men will be able to move beyond this.

    Even mentioning paedophillia when commenting about this shows homophobic attitudes.

    Frankly Keith M, your views disgust me a hell of a lot more than some consenting adults having a mucky fumble in a toilet.

  • P Ring

    Keith M has a screw loose as has Yokel. I know that’s playing the man but c’mon…

    Nothing like a good old queer sex story to illustrate perfectly N. I’s repressed, twisted, paranoid, tiny-minded f**ked up psyche.

    The Telegraph should be completely and utterly and incredibly ashamed of itself.As should anyone who believes these men deserved anything other than a ticking off /caution. Nowhere in anything I have read about this suggests that there was anything predatory or aggressive about what these men were doing. Maybe the PSNI should be patrolling behind nightclubs and community centre discos and rounding up all the young blowjobbers and kneetremblers of a weekend.

    Poor bastards. For what it tells us, this thread really is worth the last 6 months of Slugger put together.