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First off, I’m no legal expert. I can only give you the benefit of my unhappy experience with the legal system in the UK in relation to dolls.

This multi part blog will not answer questions. It is more likely to create them.

At the time of writing, and to the best of my knowledge, any doll is legal to own or manufacture in the UK. There is no restriction on doll size, type, height, length, width or size of… well, you get the idea.

However, you will come up against the might of the law by importing a doll from outside the EU that is considered by a ‘reasonable person’ to be, as the media have called them, ‘childlike’ and have a ‘sexual purpose’.

The problem is… ‘childlike’ is not defined in law. In fact, the word ‘childlike’ is an adjective used to describe the characteristics of an adult, so it is somewhat of a paradox to use the phrase.

So, to pander to the media hyperbole and despite the paradox, let us now ask the question, what does a doll have to be like to be considered ‘childlike’?

There really is no definitive answer at this stage, after years of official indecisiveness. Experts cannot agree, and even if they could, they are not allowed to give their so called ‘expert evidence’ at trial. At the end of the day, it’s down to a ‘reasonable person’ sitting on a jury, or at least it should be, but judges have made a decision based on their own single opinion and have, thus far, denied the jury a chance to deliberate that question.

Essentially, a doll of, say, three foot high with huge H cup breasts can be (and have been) considered ‘childlike’ simply due to the height of the doll, with the consideration of other ‘assets’ been entirely ignored.

Conversely, a doll of, say, six foot high with no significant breasts could be considered ‘childlike’ simply because of the small breasts. I’m not aware of this happening yet, but it most certainly could without further legal clarity.

To expand on the previous analogy, I am aware, through the various doll forums, of a doll head being seized by UK Border Force for being assessed as ‘childlike’ and being considered ‘obscene’.

Quite how a head alone can be considered ‘childlike’ is somewhat dubious given that a child’s head tends to be attached to something a little more substantial.

Quite how a head alone can be considered obscene is similarly dubious given that heads are very rarely covered in public, not to mention that any orifice therein is naturally required every minute of every hour of every day by any real child.

Will they be banning dildos next as they could be considered ‘childlike’ because of the lack of any pubic hair…?

The media have latched onto this misguided debacle and sold countless red topped comics based on the misfortunes of people who have been found innocent and/or falsely accused for one or more of the following reasons:

This is not an exhaustive list and it will, no doubt, be added to whilst there remains a lack of clarity:

1. The doll in question was misidentified as being imported when, in fact, it was purchased from within the EU.

2. The importer was unaware of the actual attributes of the doll imported.

3. The seller of the doll misrepresented their goods.

4. Identical dolls were readily available from EU warehoused stock.

5. The doll was belatedly not considered to be ‘childlike’.

In my own case (1, 4 and 5), I was arrested and investigated for importing one doll myself at a cheaper price than was already available from the long established and trusted vendors within the EU. I did it to save a few hundred pounds by sidestepping the vendor mark-ups. I wish now that I had used an EU vendor to buy the exact same doll I imported as it would have saved 8 months of heartache, a seized phone, 3x doll seizures, removed computer equipment, significant depreciation, extensive hair loss and a severely depressed opinion of the UK legal system and its associated agencies.

It took them 8 whole months to decide they couldn’t decide and all seized items were returned to a very disgruntled and innocent member of the public.

So why did they do all this? Well, as far as I can tell, it’s because ‘childlike’ is not, and remains undefined in law and the UK government are seemingly unconcerned in clarifying the situation expeditiously. By adding media hype to this lack of guidance, the witch hunt spills onto the streets in an ill conceived and indiscriminate manner.

Clarity is needed and so far, this has not happened.

That being said, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the government agency responsible for deciding who to prosecute, has finally issued ‘guidance’ to its prosecutors in March 2019 available at https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/sex-dolls-childlike

Sadly, it offers little or no clarity and my thoughts on this muddying of the waters will be considered in my next blog post.

 

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