The Spanner Trust is an organization in the United Kingdom set up in 1995 to provide assistance to the Operation Spanner defendants, lobby for a change in British law to legalize sadomasochism (meaning sadism and masochism), and provide assistance to any person subjected to discrimination because of their consensual sexual behavior. As part of its campaign, the Spanner Trust has made a number of submissions to government consultations regarding sadomasochistic (meaning sadistic and masochistic) activities.
In 2005 the Spanner Trust helped create Backlash, a group opposed to the United Kingdom government’s plans to create a law criminalizing possession of what it termed “extreme pornography”. That law was created, and came into effect in 2009. It (as the Spanner Trust’s website notes), “makes it illegal to possess pornographic images which show an act which threatens a person’s life, an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals, an act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or a person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive).” There was an unsuccessful prosecution in the United Kingdom in 2012 where it was argued by the prosecution that images of anal fisting constitute extreme pornography and thus are illegal to possess because the act is “likely to result in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals”. Specifically, in August 2012, Simon Walsh, a former aide to then London mayor Boris Johnson, was charged with possessing five images of “extreme pornography”, which were not found by police on his computers, but as email attachments on a Hotmail server account. He was found not guilty on all counts. Three images were of urethral sounding, and two of anal fisting. The images were all of consensual adult sexual activity. The Crown Prosecution Service maintained that the acts depicted were “extreme” even if the jury disagreed in this case.