Here follows the judgment from the “Royal Courts of Justice” London, England, against Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle for distributing our Tales of the Holohoax cartoons: 3 years and ten months imprisonment for Sheppard, and one year and ten months imprisonment for Whittle, along with the seizure of their printing equipment and computers. The emphasis (in boldface) has been supplied by us, otherwise this is the judgment as it was handed down by this court.
The distinguished inquisitors and censors of satire of Her Majesty’s courts of “justice"
Case No: 2008.04402 B5
Neutral Citation Number:  EWCA Crim 65
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
LORD JUSTICE SCOTT BAKER
MR JUSTICE PENRY-DAVEY
MR JUSTICE CRANSTON
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- v -
Simon Guy SHEPPARD and Stephen WHITTLE Appellants
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mr. A. DAVIES (instructed by Williamsons, Hull) for the Appellant Sheppard
Mrs L. TURNBULL (instructed by Payne & Payne, Hull) for the Appellant Whittle
Mr J. SANIDFORD and Ms. Denise BREEN-LAWTON for the Respondent
Hearing dates: 26 and 27 November 2009
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Lord Justice Scott Baker:
1. These two appellants appeal with the leave of the full court against their convictions
for a number of offences relating to racially inflammatory material under the Public
Order Act 1986 (“The 1986 Act”) The Registrar referred their sentence applications to
2. The history of the proceedings is, in brief, as follows. On 11 July 2008 in the Crown
Court at Leeds before Judge Grant and a jury Whittle was convicted of four counts of
publishing racially inflammatory material (counts 4, 5, 7 and 8). Sheppard was
convicted of 9 counts of publishing racially inflammatory material (counts 4, 5, 7, 8,
9, 12, 13, 14 and 15).
3. They then left the jurisdiction and went to the United States of America where they
claimed asylum. The trial continued in their absence. On 14 July 2005 Whittle was
convicted by a majority of 10 to 1 of one further count of the same offence – count 6
– and Sheppard by a majority of 10 to 1 of two further counts of the same offence –
counts 6 and 10.
4. There were 7 counts in relation to Sheppard on which the jury was unable to agree.
Counts 1, 2, 17 and 18 – possessing racially inflammatory material.
Counts 3 and 11 – publishing racially inflammatory material.
Count 16 – distributing racially inflammatory material.
5. There was a retrial in Sheppard’s absence and he was convicted of counts 1, 3, 16, 17
and 18. On 8 January 2009 he was found not guilty on the judge’s direction of count
2 and the prosecution did not proceed with count 11.
6. The claim for asylum in the USA was refused and the two appellants were returned to
the jurisdiction. On 10 July 2009 Sheppard was sentenced to a total of 4 years and 10
months imprisonment and Whittle to a total of 2 years and 4 months imprisonment.
Included in those sentences were 4 months consecutive sentences for bail offences.
The Bail Act sentences are not the subject of the present appeals. The judge also
made forfeiture orders under section 143 of the Powers of Criminal Courts
(Sentencing) Act 2000 in respect of which Sheppard seeks an extension of time and
leave to appeal.
7. The broad nature of the prosecution case was that Whittle composed material which
he submitted by e-mail to Sheppard. Sheppard edited the material on his computer
and then uploaded it to a website called heretical.com which was set up by him and
was hosted by a remote server located in Torrance, California. When posted on the
website the material was available for access via the internet by visitors to the
website, including people within the jurisdiction of England and Wales.
8. Count 1 related to the possession by Sheppard on 30 May 2005 of a pamphlet called
Tales of the Holohoax which was found on a search of his home in East Yorkshire. It
was a publication in the form of a comic book, the central theme of which was to cast
doubt on the existence of the Holocaust. The publication also suggested that the
Jewish people had a history of inventing stories of the commission of atrocities
against them and it portrayed the Jewish people in a way that, as was alleged, made it
likely that racial hatred would be stirred up against them if the pamphlet was
distributed. Count 2 contained an allegation in identical terms against Sheppard, but a
9. Count 3 related to the publication by Sheppard of the Tales of the Holohoax pamphlet
in full on the heretical.com website. There was evidence from a police officer, DC
Brown, who visited the site and downloaded the documents.
10. Counts 4 to 8 related to a number of other articles written by Whittle, edited by
Sheppard and published by Sheppard on the heretical.com website. All the articles
were alleged to contain derogatory remarks about Jewish people and black people.
11. Counts 9 to 15 related to the publication by Sheppard on the heretical.com website of
a number of other documents which were likewise alleged to contain material that
was threatening, abusive or insulting towards various racial groups.
12. Counts 16 related to the distribution by Sheppard of a pamphlet called “Don’t be
Sheeple” which was likewise alleged to be racially inflammatory, count 17 to the
possession by him on 4 July 2008 of a number of copies of that pamphlet and count
18 to the possession by him on the same date of a number of copies of the Tales of the
13. Matters came to light in this way. On 13 August 2004 Professor Klug, a research
fellow with the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of
Economics forwarded to Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, a pamphlet entitled
Tales of the Holohoax which had been sent to her personally. Four days earlier on 9
August 2004 a Mr Whine had written to the Chief Constable of Lancashire
complaining that the same pamphlet had been received by the Blackpool Reform
Synagogue. A similar complaint was made to the Western Division Police
Headquarters. The Crown Prosecution Service was invited to consider prosecuting
the publisher under Part III of the 1986 Act.
14. Sheppard was traced through the publisher’s address printed on the pamphlet. The
Crown Prosecution Service decided that Tales of the Holohoax contained words
which were abusive, insulting and possibly threatening towards a racial group, namely
Jewish people and that further investigations were required to discover the extent of
the publication and distribution. In March 2005 Sheppard was arrested and
interviewed. It became apparent that he operated a number of websites, and
registrations for 15 websites were found in his name at his home address. The
websites had names such as heretical.com; klan.org; nazi.org; and whitepower.co.uk.
During a review of this material it became apparent that Whittle had been writing
articles under the pseudonym of Luke O’Farrell and these were published by
Sheppard on his website heretical.com.
15. Having edited the material, Sheppard posted it to the website in Torrance California.
In order to do this he used a format known as File Transfer Protocol. Once the
material reached the server, the server then converted the format of the material to
HTML which made it available to be accessed on the internet by those visiting the
website, including people within the jurisdiction of England and Wales. Sheppard
had control of the website as far as its contents were concerned. He could upload and
16. The appellants do not challenge the jury’s findings that in each of the counts in
respect of which they were convicted the material was racially inflammatory; nor
could they. Rather, the appeal is concerned with issues of law.
17. The appeals against conviction concern only those counts relating to the internet; that
is counts 3 – 15. Indeed the other counts (1, 2, 16, 17 and 18), which concerned
Sheppard only, related to hard copy material. Each of the internet counts of which the
appellants were convicted involved an allegation of publishing racially inflammatory
material contrary to section 19 (1) of the 1986 Act.
18. Section 19 of the 1986 Act provides:
“(1) A person who publishes or distributes written material which
is threatening abusive or insulting is guilty of an offence if –
a) He intends thereby to stir up racial hatred, or
b) Having regard to all the circumstances, racial hatred is likely to be
stirred up thereby.
(2) In proceedings for an offence under this section it is a
defence for an accused who is not shown to have intended
to stir up racial hatred to prove that he was not aware of the
content of the material and did not suspect, and had no
reason to suspect, that it was threatening, abusive or
(3) References in this part to the publication or distribution of
written material are to its publication or distribution to the
public or to a section of the public.”
19. The appellants advance three grounds of appeal. The main one relates to jurisdiction,
the argument being that a publication on the internet is only cognisable in the
jurisdiction where the web server upon which it is hosted is located and since in this
case the location was California the publication falls outside the jurisdiction of
England and Wales. We would add that it is common ground that none of the
material charged by the internet counts is illegal in the United States of America. The
other grounds concern the meaning of “publication” in section 19 and the application
of section 19 to publication on the internet and whether the material published on the
internet was “written material” within the meaning of section 29 of the 1986 Act.
Section 29 provides that “written material” includes any sign or other visible
20. The judge found that the test to be applied was to be found in the case of R v Smith
(Wallace Duncan) (No.4)  2Cr App R 17,  EWCA Crim 631. That is
that the Crown Court had jurisdiction to try the appellants for their conduct because a
substantial measure of the activities constituting the crime took place in England. He
rejected the appellants’ arguments that the determinative factors were (1) that the act
of publishing took place in California when the format of the material supplied by
Sheppard was converted to allow it to become accessible on the internet, and when it
was accessed by other people clicking on the website; (2) that the act complained of
did not constitute a criminal offence in the United States of America because it was
not only not a criminal act but also specifically protected by the First Amendment to
the American Constitution; and (3) that the wording of section 42 of the 1986 Act was
different from the jurisdictional wording of, for example, the Theft Act 1968 and thus
the Wallace Duncan Smith (No.4) line of authority was not applicable.
21. The judge said in his ruling that the test to be applied was summed up effectively in a
quotation at paragraph 55 of the judgment of Lord Woolf C.J. in Wallace Duncan
Smith (No.4) citing Rose L.J. in Smith (No 1):
“The passage in Treacy v DPP to which Roberts CJ refers is the
celebrated discussion by Lord Diplock of the bounds of comity
and the judgment of La Forest J in Libman contains a most
valuable analysis of the English authorities on the justicability
of crime in the English courts which ends with the following
The English Courts have decisively begun to move away
from definitional obsessions and technical formulations
aimed at finding a single situs of a crime by locating where
the gist of the crime occurred or where it was completed.
Rather, they now appear to seek by an examination of
relevant policies to apply the English criminal law where a
substantial measure of the activities constituting the crime
take place in England, and restricts its application in such
circumstances solely to cases where it can seriously be
argued on a reasonable view that these activities should on
the basis of international comity not be dealt with by another
22. The judge pointed out that the material complained of was prepared in England and
Wales, was uploaded onto the website from England and Wales and that this must
have been done by Sheppard in the knowledge and with the expectation and intent
that the material should be available to the public or a section of it within the
jurisdiction in England and Wales. He noted there were references to postage for
people living in England and Wales should they wish to have the materials sent to
them by post. Thus it was in the contemplation of Sheppard that people in England
and Wales should have access to the material which he posted on the website.
Further, the material appearing on the computer user’s screen was exactly or
substantially in the same form as it was when it was uploaded by Sheppard. He added
that even if the defence were correct that a novus actus occurred in California at the
point at which the server was utilised (which the judge said he seriously doubted was
the case), use of the server was merely a stage in the transmission of the material
requiring no intervention once the website was activated. Any novus actus could only
be regarded as that of an agent acting on behalf of Sheppard and thus the act in
English law of the principal. It could not, the judge said, be seriously argued on a
reasonable view of all the evidence that the appellants’ activities should, on the basis
of international comity, be dealt with by another country.
23. Mr Sandiford, for the Crown, submits that the judge was correct to rule that the
“substantial measure “test was satisfied for the following reasons:
Sheppard operated and controlled the website from within the jurisdiction;
the material was uploaded, maintained and controlled from within the
the material, the subject of counts 4 – 8, was written and edited within the
the material the subject of counts 9 – 15 was collated and selected within the
Sheppard’s website included a dedicated British page (no other country had
such a page) on the website and offered books for sale with prices and postage
quoted in sterling;
Sheppard’s website and Whittle’s column in which the material the subject to
counts 4 – 9 was published were linked to websites such as that of the British
E-mail traffic between the appellants revealed their intention to publish the
material on the website within the jurisdiction and they claimed to have done
so in order to satirise political correctness and redress an unbalanced media.
24. There was in our view abundant material to satisfy the “substantial measure” test.
However, Mr Adrian Davies for Sheppard in a submission supported by Mrs Linda
Turnbull for Whittle submits that this is not the correct test and that Wallace Duncan
Smith (No. 4) is of no assistance in determining the issue of jurisdiction in the present
case. Wallace Duncan Smith was convicted of one count of fraudulent trading contrary
to section 458 of the Companies Act 1985 and two counts of obtaining property by
deception contrary to section 15 of the Theft Act 1968. Smith, a Canadian national,
was chairman and managing director of a merchant bank which ceased trading in 1991.
It was subsequently wound up owing its unsecured creditors some £92m. It also
controlled other companies based in Canada, including Wallace Smith Holdings
(WSH). Working from this country and using a group of companies which he
controlled, Smith set up various bogus deals between the merchant bank and WSH
which boosted the size of the merchant bank’s profits. While the dishonest
arrangements were put into operation by Smith in this country, the obtaining of the
money took place outside the jurisdiction when the money was paid into a bank account
in New York.
25. The problem faced by the court in Wallace Duncan Smith (No 4) was a conflict
between the decisions of this court in Smith (No. 1)  2 CAR 1 and R v Manning
 QB 980. As the Lord Chief Justice observed at paragraph 48, the issue was an
important one and involved the extent to which it was appropriate for the court to
develop the common law as to jurisdiction in order to meet the changing requirements
of society. In the event the court followed Smith (No. 1) and in doing so the Lord
Chief Justice cited from the opinion of Lord Griffiths in Liangsiriprasert v
Government of United States of America (1991) 92 Cr App R 77,90.
“Unfortunately in this Century crime has ceased to be largely
local in origin and effect. Crime is now established on an
international scale and the criminal law must face this new
reality. Their lordships can find nothing in precedent, comity
or good sense that should inhibit the common law from
regarding as justiciable in England inchoate crimes committed
abroad which are intended to result in the commission of
criminal offences in England.”
26. Lord Woolf went on to point out that Liangsiriprasert was applied in Sansom & ors
(1991) 92 Cr App R 115 in a judgment delivered by Taylor LJ. Sansom was another
conspiracy case and Lord Woolf could see no distinction in relation to the principles
of jurisdiction between conspiracy and obtaining by deception.
27. We have to consider whether there is any basis for not applying in the present case the
“substantial measure” principle for establishing jurisdiction as enunciated by the Lord
Chief Justice in Wallace Duncan Smith (No.4). The starting point seems to us to be
the terms of the 1986 Act. Mr Sandiford points out that sections 18, 19 and 23
contain a comprehensive scheme to restrict the public dissemination of written
material intended or likely to stir up racial hatred. Section 18 covers display of such
written material, section 19 publication and distribution and section 23 possession. In
the interpretation section of the Act, section 29 “written material” is described as
including any sign or any visible representation. Whilst in 1986 the world-wide web
was a thing of the future and computers were in their infancy it seems to us clear that
“written material” is plainly wide enough to cover the material disseminated by the
website in the present case. The judge took the same view. He said that what was on
the computer screen was first of all in writing or written and secondly that the
electronically stored data which is transmitted also comes within the definition of
written material because it is written material stored in another form. He drew a
comparison with opening and closing a book; when the book is open you can see the
writing; when it is closed you cannot.
28. The judge was referred to Hansard. Both the appellants and the Crown sought to rely
on it. The appellants argue that Hansard makes clear that no consideration was given,
when the Bill was debated, to the internet. The Crown argue that the debate illustrates
Parliament’s intention was to ensure that “written material” in Part III of the 1986 Act
was wide enough to cover new forms of communication so that racist organisations
and others could not advance the type of argument being put forward in the present
29. For our part we think that the meaning of “written material” as interpreted by section
29 is sufficiently clear to cover the present case without recourse to Hansard. The
word “includes” in section 29 is plainly intended to widen the scope of the expression.
We reject Mrs Turnbull’s submission that the written material has to be in visible,
comprehensible form with some degree of permanence. We also reject the
submission that any assistance is to be obtained from the Obscene Publications Act
1959 which, as originally drafted, was not wide enough to embrace electronic
30. Mr Davies draws our attention to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 where Parliament has
legislated to criminalise certain categories of conduct regardless of where the offences
are committed and whether or not the conduct is illegal in the country in which it is
committed. He submits that the absence of any provisions similar to sections 47 – 50
of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in the 1986 Act in a clear pointer limiting its extent
to England and Wales.
31. Section 42 of the 1986 Act provides that the provisions of the Act extend to England
and Wales save for some limited exceptions that mainly relate to Scotland and
Northern Ireland. We do not think it assists in taking the present case outside the
jurisdiction principle in Wallace Duncan Smith (No 4). We agree with the judge that
section 42 is not a restriction of jurisdiction to England and Wales, rather it sets out
the limitations imposed by the statute as to its extent within England and Wales. It
sets out the extent to which the Act applies within England and Wales. It is not
determinative of the jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
32. The position seems to us to be as follows. The conduct the relevant provisions of the
Act seek to prevent is the dissemination of material intended or likely to stir up racial
hatred. In the present case under section 19 we are concerned with publication of
such material, to which we shall come in a moment. The reality is that, as expressed
by the judge, almost everything in this case related to this country. This is where the
appellants operated one in Preston, the other in Hull; this is where the material was
generated, edited, uploaded and controlled. The material was aimed primarily at the
British public. The only “foreign” element was that the website was hosted by a
server in Torrance California and, as the judge observed, the use of the server was
merely a stage in the transmission of the material.
33. What is the test for jurisdiction if it is not as set out in Wallace Duncan Smith (No.4)?
Mr Davies submitted that there were essentially 3 jurisprudential theories at to
publications on the internet. The first is that a publication is only cognisable in the
jurisdiction where the web server upon which it is hosted is situated - the country of
origin theory. The second is that publication on the internet is cognisable in any
jurisdiction in which it can be down-loaded – the country of destination theory. The
third is that while a publication is always cognisable in the jurisdiction where the web
server upon which it is hosted is situated, it is also cognisable in a jurisdiction at
which the publication is targeted – the directing and targeting theory. Since we have
come to the clear conclusion that the jurisdiction is governed by the substantial
measure principle enunciated by this court in Wallace Duncan Smith (No.4) it is
unnecessary for us to explore any of these three theories or the effect of applying
them to the facts of this case. It seems to us that the substantial measure test not only
accords with the purpose of the relevant provisions of the 1985 Act it also reflects the
practicalities of the present case.
34. Before us Mr Davies put publication at the forefront of his argument submitting that
if, as he contended was the case, there was no publication that was the end of the case.
His argument is that one cannot have a publication without a publishee (or rather
sufficient publishees) to constitute a section of the public as required by section 19 (3)
of the 1986 Act. The judge noted that the only direct evidence of there being a
publishee was that of the police officer, DC Brown, and that in one sense he was a
self-publishee. In our view, however, the judge put it correctly when he said that
what the Crown had to show was that there was publication to the public or a section
of the public in that the material was generally accessible to all or available to or was
placed before or offered to the public and that that could be proved by the evidence of
one or more witnesses. This accords with the definition of publish and publication in
the Shorter Oxford Dictionary. As Kennedy L.J. put it in R v Perrin  EWCA
Crim 747, a case under the Obscene Publications Act 1959, at paragraph 22 “the
publication relied on in this case is the making available of preview material to any
viewer who may chose to access it …”
The material in the present case was
available to the public despite the fact that the evidence went no further than
establishing that one police constable downloaded it. It is also to be noted that the
natural meaning of publication, as applied by the judge gives effect to the two distinct
offences under section 19 of publication and distribution of racially inflammatory
material. It also fits neatly with the scheme of Part III of the 1986 Act which creates a
comprehensive range of offences in respect of racially inflammatory written material
namely section 18 – displaying, section 19 – publishing or distributing and section 23
– possession with a view to the material being displayed published distributed etc.
35. The point that there cannot be publication without a publishee is in our judgment
fundamentally misconceived. It is based on an irrelevant comparison with the law of
libel. Libel is a tort or civil wrong where it is necessary for the claimant to prove that
the words complained of were published of him and were defamatory of him. Nor
does criminal libel assist, for reading out socially inflammatory words will amount to
an offence under section 18 (1). Further, the offences of displaying, distributing or
publishing racially inflammatory written material do not require proof that anybody
actually read or heard the material.
36. The appellants’ third ground of appeal contends that even if there was publication and
the English court has jurisdiction, any publication was not of written material. We
have covered most of the appellants’ arguments on this point when dealing with the
issue of jurisdiction and explained why in our view the contention is misconceived.
For completeness we should say that we are not persuaded by Mr Davies’ eiusdem
generis argument which is that “written material” should be limited to something akin
to a sign. What section 29 says is that “written material” includes any sign or other
visible representation and in our view those words are sufficiently wide to include
articles in electronic form.
37. In our judgment there is no merit in any of the appellants’ grounds of appeal against
38. The question is whether the sentences of 4 years for Sheppard and 2 years for
Whittle were either wrong in principle or manifestly excessive. There is no error in
principle; what we need to look at is the totality of the criminal conduct of each
appellant. There is no appeal against the consecutive sentences of 4 months in each
case for the offences under the Bail Act. Sheppard had to be sentenced for a total of
16 offences, 3 of which were for possession, 1 for distributing and the remainder for
publishing, racially offensive material. Whittle had to be sentenced for 5 offences, all
for publishing racially offensive material. The judge structured his sentence in the
case of Sheppard in this way. For counts 1 and 3 which took place between March
2005 and April 2006 12 months imprisonment concurrent; for counts 4 to 10 and 12
to 15 which all involved setting up, running and editing the website heretical.com 2ó
years imprisonment concurrent with each other but consecutive to the 12 months; and
for counts 16 to 18, which were committed on bail in the summer of 2007, 12 months
concurrent with each other but consecutive to the other groups of sentences. Whittle
received concurrent sentences for each of the 5 offences involving publication on
heretical.com of articles of which he was the author.
39. The maximum penalty for each of these offences was 7 years imprisonment.
Sheppard has a previous conviction for 2 similar offences in 2000 under sections 19
and 23 of the 1986 Act for which he received a sentence of 9 months imprisonment.
The judge in passing sentence said he had rarely seen or read and had to consider
material that was so abusive and insulting in its content toward racial groups within
society in this country. We agree with that assessment; this was truly pernicious
material. The judge rightly drew attention to its potential for social harm. He
observed that by using a server in the United States the appellants thought they had
found a way to circumvent English law. We regard the need to deter others as an
important element of sentencing in cases of this kind.
40. Mr Davies submits that Sheppard’s sentence is manifestly excessive when measured
against the sentences passed on El Faisal  EWCA Crim 343 (12 months ) and
more particularly Abu Hamza  EWCA Crim 2918 (21 months). It is trite to say
no two cases are the same.
41. The judge having presided over the two trials was well placed to assess the criminality
of each appellant. That said, however, the point that has most impressed us is that
there is no evidence of how many people saw the material or of the consequences of
their having seen it, although we do know that there was several thousand “hits” or
visits to heretical.com per day. There was no evidence of any individual having been
corrupted, albeit we appreciate such evidence would unlikely to be forthcoming.
Clearly a substantial sentence was called for in the case of Sheppard because he was a
repeat offender and the offences spanned a not inconsiderable period as well as being
repeated whilst on bail. In our judgment each of the constituent elements of
Sheppard’s sentence was amply justified but we think 4 years in total was too long.
We think the right sentence would have been 3 years and accordingly we grant
leave to appeal against sentence and we achieve that result by reducing the sentences
on counts 4 to 10 and 12 to 15 from 2 years to 18 months. All the other sentences
will remain as before.
As to Whittle, his involvement was less than that of Sheppard
and over a shorter period. He had no previous convictions. On the other had he was
the “brains” behind the construction of the offensive material which he fed to
Sheppard. We grant leave in his case too and the concurrent sentences of 2 years will
be reduced to 18 months. Accordingly, after taking into account the sentences for the
Bail Act offences, which are not the subject of appeal, the total sentence to be served
by Sheppard is 3 years and 10 months and Whittle 1 year and 10 months. We grant
leave to appeal against sentence and vary the sentences to that extent. Credit is in
each case given for the 23 days spent on remand.
42. The judge made a forfeiture order against Sheppard under section 143 (1) (a) and (b)
of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (“the 2000 Act”) with
respect to items of office equipment and computers belonging to him. This aspect of
his appeal against sentence requires an extension of time and leave to appeal. For
reasons we shall explain we do not think there is any merit in the forfeiture appeal and
we refuse both an extension of time and leave to appeal.
43. There was, unfortunately, no transcript of the judge’s ruling on forfeiture but in the
event it was possible to overcome this problem by playing us in court a tape of the
judge’s judgment. This was very helpfully transcribed by the shorthand writer who
provided a transcript to the court shortly after the conclusion of the hearing.
44. The judge first referred to section 143 of the 2000 Act which provides:
“Where a person is convicted of an offence and the court by or
before which he is convicted is satisfied that any property
which has been lawfully seized from him or which was in his
possession or under his control at the time when he was
apprehended for the offence or when a summons in respect of it
was issued a) has been used for the purpose of committing or facilitating commission
of any offence or b) was intended by him to be used for that purpose,
The court may (subject to sub-section (5) below) make an order under this
section in respect of that property.” Subsection (5) provides:
“In considering whether to make an order under this section in
respect of any property, a court shall have regard –
(a) to the value of the property; and
(b) to the likely financial and other effects on the offender of the making of
the order (taken together with any other order that the court
45. The court had prepared a schedule. There was agreement about the forfeiture of some
items; others were in dispute. There were two categories of disputed items, office
equipment and computer equipment. The main thrust of Mr Davies’ argument on
behalf of Sheppard before the judge was that he had a legitimate publishing business
by which he earned a living and that loss of the items sought by the Crown to be
forfeited would put him in a precarious financial situation.
46. The judge concluded that the computers had clearly been used for legitimate purposes
but that they had also been used and were intended to be used by Sheppard for
committing or facilitating the commission of offences. The judge did not consider the
forfeiture of these items would constitute excessive punishment.
47. As to office equipment, the judge again said he had in mind section 143 (5). He
referred to the additional argument that there was no evidence this equipment was
used for the production of any of the hard copies that were distributed. The judge said
he was entitled to draw the inference that the office equipment in question was, if not
used for the commission or facilitating of offences, intended to be used for such
purpose. He said he was entitled to draw this interference because of Sheppard’s
determination and persistence in publishing material of this nature. He had of course
a previous conviction for similar offences and committed further offences whilst on
bail. We cannot fault the judge’s reasoning or his decision. The transcript identifies
by number the various items to be forfeited by Sheppard and it is unnecessary for us
to repeat them.
48. (1) The appeals against conviction are dismissed.
(2) Leave to appeal against sentence is granted and the appeals against sentence are
allowed to the limited extent indicated.
(3) Leave to appeal against the forfeiture order imposed on Sheppard and an extension
of time for doing so is refused.