By Calvin Palmer
The case against a blogger who wrote a fantasy article about the kidnap, rape and murder of the members of the Girls Aloud pop group was dropped today.
Darryn Walker, 35, of South Shields, Tyneside, was charged under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act but after reviewing evidence from an information technology specialist, the case was dropped and Judge Esmond Faulks returned a not guilty verdict.
The Crown Prosecution Service brought the charges in the belief that young fans of the group could have easily stumbled across the 12-page blog, called Girls (Scream) Aloud, while searching for material about the band.
Prosecutor David Perry QC told the court: “A crucial aspect of the reasoning that led to the instigation of these proceedings was the article in question, which was posted on the Internet, was accessible to people who were particularly vulnerable, young people who were interested in a particular pop music group. It was that which distinguished this case from other material available on the Internet.”
The defense submitted evidence, on June 12, containing a report from a consultant in information technology, which led to a review of the case.
Perry said: “His evidence stated the article would not have been easily accessible to a person searching the Internet and would only have been found by a person determined to find the sort of material contained within. This prompted the CPS to consider the implications of that evidence.”
Walker appeared at Newcastle Crown Court smartly dressed in a gray suit. The former civil servant had pleaded not guilty to the charge before the judge’s verdict.
Walker’s lawyer, Tim Owen QC, said: “The effect of this prosecution on Mr Walker has been devastating. He has lost his job and has not managed to get further employment. Hopefully he can now recommence his life.
“It had never been his intention to frighten or intimidate the members of Girls Aloud. He had written what he describes as an adult celebrity parody, only meant to be read by like-minded people.”
Owen said as soon as Walker became aware his article had caused upset he had it removed.