R v McCarthy, Birmingham Crown Court (Unreported, 21 March 2018)

In 1993, the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords, as the precursor to the UK Supreme Court, determined, in a case relating to otherwise consensual sadomasochistic activities, that an individual could not consent to assault occasioning actual bodily harm or wounding contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. (R. v. Brown [1994] 1 AC 212).

Birmingham Crown Court recently considered analogous issues in a case arising out of the activities of a ‘tattoo artist’ operating under the nom de plume of ‘Dr Evil’.

The Defendant, Brendan McCarthy (50), had carried out his business from premises in Wolverhampton for many years. As things diversified, his activities expanded to tongue-splitting, ear and nipple removal with such procedures being carried out with the express ‘consent’ of his customers.

Mr McCarthy pleaded guilty to three counts of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent.

Judge Nawaz noted that the Defendant had no qualifications to carry out surgical procedures, nor to deal with any adverse consequences which could have arisen, before imposing what was describes as a ‘deterrent sentence’ of 40-months imprisonment.

This case may seem a tad bizarre, but your takeaway should be to get the right legal advice before embarking on any new business venture.

By Paul Sullivan FRSA

Creating unique, engaging content for your law firm clients