That ear removing tattoo artist

Anyone else seen this chap who has been convicted of GBH for removing an ear, a nipple and splitting a client's tongue?  Seems he tried the old R v Brown approach of they gave their written consent only for the Court of Appeal to decide that you really can't have people with no medical training carrying out such procedures.

To be honest the strangest part of the story was the fact that all of these clients has these things done without an anaesthetic.  How as surely having your ear sliced off hurts like hell?

People that have multiple piercings/tattoos/other body modifications tend to have a weird addiction to the pain

Queenie I can vaguely understand the pain/pleasure threshold when it comes to the smaller quick things like having a needle shoved through your ear but having your entire ear cut off or a nipple cut off is a whole different world of pain.  Had a mole removed from my forehead a few years ago and once the anaesthetic wore off that was horribly painful just because of the number of nerve endings and their proximity to the surface of the skin and the pain went on for many hours.

Some people have a different attitude and relationship with pain.  Moley.


There was a very pro piece on the BBC website.  It went down the "I never knew I was doing anything wrong" and "I'm competent to do it", it seemed to miss the hygiene issues that the Council found at the studio and that he was giving pain medication and had NO TRAINING ON WHAT TO DO IF SLICING OFF SOMEONE'S EAR CAUSED A PROBLEM.  He also said he could do labia removal!

I do actually feel sorry for him, but I don't think it's a good thing if people randomly slice and dice other people. 

How did he work out he's competent to do it despite having no medical training?  I assume that removing an ear requires tying off blood vessels and being careful not to damage any nerves near the surface and that's not the kind of stuff you learn at tattoo school.

Reckon rabbis get any official medical or hygiene training when hey do the old snippets snip Bris ceremony?

Now that'd be a fun topic to raise in parliament.  Must email Corbyn....

A neighbours sixteen year old daughter... has started advertising beauty treatments on facebook.... including eyebrow tattoo's.

She's at college doing social care.

It's a very unregulated area.

I assume that the elder rabbis do actually teach them the technique and supervise rather than just having a go.  However, do you know a handy experienced ear remover who could teach someone else how to remove an ear and supervise their first attempts?

I thought rabbis did have specific training? Even so, kids still die from that shit.


Surely labia removal would fall foul of the specific legislation on FGM?

Labia removal?  This isn't bloody Somalia.  Dear god.

OK, question. Do we think the law as it stands (that you can't consent to GBH) is good?

On the one hand I think that anyone who wants their ear cutting off is clearly a fruitcake and needs psychiatric help, not an overeager tattoo artist with a carving knife. On the other hand, medical law and ethics would prevent a doctor from removing a healthy body part with no good reason, so if someone is determined they want it done, they'd have to go the backstreet way.

Is there an argument that (as with genger reassignment), people should be able to pay for a real doctor to perform these kinds of procedures on them in a regulated environment, once they've had the necessary counselling?

It draws a line in an area which is very difficult to adjudicate on (a bit like assisted dying).  The issue is one of establishing mental capacity and consent.  The results are permanent and disfiguring, so just saying "no" to it gives a clear boundary.

I suppose it would also give rise to other issues, such as whether a person who has voluntarily paid for their leg to be removed should be entitled to access any treatments or services for amputees on the NHS.

Mate of mine was born with only one ear and in the 70's they did a pretty good job of creating an ear with some cartilege (don't seem to be able to spell the word) from elsewhere and grafts so guess they could replace your ear if you decided you didn't like it after having it cut off.

He should appeal on the basis that Brexit demonstrates that there is no level of self-harm which vitiates consent.

Presumably whoever it was kept it as a key ring or some such?

"It draws a line in an area which is very difficult to adjudicate on (a bit like assisted dying).  The issue is one of establishing mental capacity and consent.  The results are permanent and disfiguring, so just saying "no" to it gives a clear boundary"


I think this is overanalysing.  The House of Lords was asked to consider this issue of consent to serious assault in the 1990s and, on a clear and unambiguous public policy basis, said that's not happening under English law.  Not, as the above suggests, because it was going to be "difficult" if consent was relevant to establish capacity to give informed consent etc (though I accept there was discussion of this in Brown, this line was not where the judgment came from), but because the concept of permitting assault on another in cases other than self- or public defence was contrary to public interest.  Saying "no" to it was not because saying "yes" would be tricky. It's because the English judiciary decided no was the correct answer and it remains so.   The judgment basically says "we can't have weirdos chopping stuff off each other because they all think it's a good idea. The liberal values of Britain don't require that to be permitted. We need to disincentivise that by maintaining the criminality of the conduct."

An online game I used to play, and I'm buggered if I can remember which it was, used to let you collect people's ears (that you had just killed) if they had a playerkiller bounty on them.  You could make a magic necklace eventually once you had enough.


Mutters, do you happen to recall something prior to spanner which involved a husband branding his wife?  The case was thrown out becaus both parties were consenting and married and it achieved a decorative aim.  Would this guy have gotten away with it had he been married to his "victim"?


Aha, found it.  R v Wilson [1996] Crim LR 573.  Reading that one rather makes a mockery of the whole bloody thing doesn't it.


I did wonder who would go to somebody called Dr Evil


but then remembered that the majority of my piercings were done by a Welsh guy with full face tattoos and horns implanted under his skin

 And they say gaming is entirely innocent and doesn't fuck up people's minds...


re your last one Tecco, it's

R v Wilson [1996] Crim LR 573 Court of Appeal

The appellant branded his initials on his wife’s buttocks with a hot knife. She had asked him to do so. Her skin became infected and she sought medical treatment from her doctor. The doctor reported the matter to the police and the husband was charged with ABH under s.47 Offences Against the Person Act 1861.


The wife’s consent was valid. The branding was more akin to tattooing and cosmetic enhancement rather than infliction of pain for sexual gratification. The court further held that consensual activity between husband and wife in the privacy of the matrimonial home was not a matter for the courts.


I have REAL difficulties with this case. If there is a logic to it and it sits comfortably with the case we are discussing and Brown, then it is that it should not have been charged as s47 as, even if it was an assault, it failed the fsecond test in the Prosecutor's Code (per the "court further held" element), though that's not how the ratio goes because of the first point.  "Branding was cosmetic enhancement not pain for sexual gratification" is a complete judicial mess up. Inflicting pain for sexual gratification is not an ingredient of the s47 offence. 

What the judge should have said is "the branding in this case was an act of cosmetic activity at her request, so should be treated like tattooing, which also inflicts pain but is not an assault (though pain levels may have been more significant). Therefore it should not have been charged. But seeing as it was, and on the assumption that the first part of the Code test was satisfied, the second is not as consensual cosmetic enhancement in the privacy of the matrimonial home was not a matter for the courts"

But in my view it is and Brown says it is, and it is. If my wife said "darling, my tits are too big, do us a favour after dinner and get the carving knife out and lop some off yeah?" I would decline for many reasons but would have no doubt that it would to amount to an illegal act and her request and consent had nothing to do with it.

TBF the law on some aspects of this is quite clear.  The man was doing surgery without training or a licence.  That is not permitted.  He was providing painkilling drugs which require a prescription without either the training or the qualification which would have permitted him to provide a prescription.  That is not permitted. Those are both offences under the relevant statutes.  

The aspects which are arguable are whether the acts amounted to an assault given the alleged consent of the victim.  There are arguments as to whether consent was informed/ unambiguous, whether the consenter had capacity, whether there was any form of undue influence and as to whether the R. v. Brown point applies, so that even unambiguous consent with full capacity is insufficient.  

Is that analysis correct ? Criminal heds please comment.  



Mutters, I thought you could consent to ABH (otherwise all tattoos, piercings and similar would be illegal) but not to GBH or worse. 

The points in your first para are correct.

The points in your second para are the issues that the public and media always get excited about because there is a perception that society has moved on and stringing someone up by the balls with a large fish hook, hanging them like a side of beef for a night in a full PVC body suit with nothing but a snorkel etc etc is what goes on all the time in every basement these days, so surely the law is an ass.

No, it isn't.  English law quite clearly states - with the exception of the odd brainfart like R v Wilson - that English law will step in and prohibit certain activities in private where the defence of informed consent should not be relevant because the acts should not be permitted in any circumstances.  

a night in a full PVC body suit


I misread that as Hull. Cruel and unusual punishment indeed.

Consent is available in common assault.  The prosecution has to establish that the offence was committed without consent. Here's what the CPS charging standards say about common assault and s47, Brown and so on.




An element of the offence of common assault is lack of consent so that the prosecution has to establish that the offence was committed without consent. However, a lack of consent can be inferred from evidence other than the direct evidence of the victim - CPS v Shabbir [2009] EWHC 2754 (Admin).

The House of Lords held in R v Brown (Anthony Joseph) [1994] 1 A.C. 212 that in the absence of a good reason, the victim's consent is no defence to a charge under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, ss20 or 47 ; the satisfying of sado- masochistic desires does not constitute such a good reason.




It is worth pausing to reflect on what a "good reason" would be. Brown judgment is pretty vague on this, for erm, good reason. but imagine all paramedics and ambulance staff are on strike and someone has crashed their bicycle into your fence in a road accident and is impaled through the thigh by a wrought iron spike, and they are begging for assistance. They aren't at risk of death but they do need to be decoupled from the fence. They consent to your taking a knife and cutting the leg further to allow you to remove the bent metal.


What the judge is saying in Wilson, but getting there the long way, is that this is a common assault at best to which consent is relevant.

I have always felt the spanner decision makes what a lot of people do as a hobby into a crime, in a very literal sense.

Just as the Wilson case is serrriously homophobic, permitting (potentially worse) activities of a similar nature between a husband and wife in the privacy of their matrimonial home.

I am now beginning to remember why I stopped reading into this, it riles me up.  Wtf does big brother have to do with person A wanting to beat person B with a cane if they both get pleasure from it and both consent.  Grumble.


  Wtf does big brother have to do with person A wanting to beat person B with a cane if they both get pleasure from it and both consent.  Grumble.


Does your understandably liberal view have any boundaries or is it absolute?



this is not a trick question and I am not going to shoot you down for it. A lot of us start with that line that everything that goes on at home is no matter for the prying eyes of the prosecutor, and then you think about it and you have to say that there must be degrees of permissible conduct and ultimately impermissible conduct. It cannot be absolute. So if it is a graduating scale then it becomes a totally subjective issue and very difficult to administer publicly.  

There is the problem really.  It has to be somewhat subjective because what is permissible for some may seem unreasonable to others.

And therein lies the theory of informed consent.  The law should be capable of respecting an individual’s desire to give consent and unless they in someway lack capacity to give that consent should not interfere unless it goes so far as killing.

People on a rugby field essentially give their consent to allow for what would be deemed as assault on the street.  This is socially accepted that they are making a decision based on informed consent.

I see little difference between that and, say, what happens at a BDSM club between consenting adults.


"Informed consent" has a long history and is currently used as the basis of many medical procedures.  When you look at it carefully it is pretty ropey as almost always the person giving consent is severely compromised - weak, sick, old, ill, reliant on those who are asking for consent for all their daily needs such as food,warmth, clean clothes, bed attendance, bodily functions etc.  

As for "informed consent" by a domestic partner or sexual partner, I think it has to have limits, which is what their Lordships concluded in R. v. Brown.  It is just too obviously convenient that the person giving consent is in some way vulnerable or at the mercy of the person asking consent.  


R v Brown was as much based upon homophobia, disgust and AIDS-bias as it was on the issue of consent though.  Re-read the judgment (I did recently).  It's stuck in the Dark Ages.

Can we just pause for a moment and ask ourselves why Mutters seems to have so much of the R v Brown stuff so readily at his (presumably scarred and printless) fingertips?

^^nobody tells Badders when he can nail his penis to a table

Fools, it's the law, innit. I make a habit of trying to remember it.

Sorry dal but a person giving consent from the position to which you refer may not have the capacity to give consent for the very reasons you describe.  That is why we have functions within law to allow for a qualified or appointed person to give consent if deemed in the best interests of the Patient.

Medical consents are a different branch and frankly they’re of an entirely different species of tree in comparison to what we’ve really been talking about.  And yes, the spanner case was massively homophobic.

People on a rugby field essentially give their consent to allow for what would be deemed as assault on the street.  This is socially accepted that they are making a decision based on informed consent.



and there is plenty of stuff in play about where conduct on the rugby pitch moves from consent to what would otherwise be common assault to ABH and beyond to which the "consent" of turning up in team kit does not apply.  It is perfectly possible for conduct on the rugby pitch to fall outside the boundaries of the rules of the game and code of conduct, which is aligned with the law, and into the realms of prosecution.

Nowadays I only try to remember the bits relevant to what I do, otherwise I run out of brainspace and forget other important things, like wearing trousers to work.

I am willing to accept that in your case, given the need to recall R v Brown so clearly, remembering to wear trousers to work is probably less important.

But seriously, Foolio, this question of where the State (Judiciary) butts in and where it should butt out is a really interesting issue in an apparently liberal democracy.  The Brit has a major jurisprudential and ethical dilemma to deal with here.  So much of our law is based on the duty of care in civil and the boundaries of safe conduct in criminal cases. At the outer limits the permissive State suddenly says "NO, you can't do that" and there are many arguments why it should. But it is fundamentally illiberal that it does so. We often complain of the nanny state. But think again about what the nation would look like if people who have a very different view on right and wrong were not in any way hemmed in by parameters set within the Rule of Law. 


Of course what you say about the boundaries of these things and where the State should interfere and where it should not are important questions.  

And, like most English people I share your instinctive liberalism in response to most ordinary situations and questions. 

BUT when you think about it, liberalism or non-interference is not the answer to everything. If you take a merely liberal stance to every question you end up with one or more the nightmare societies dreamt up by libertarians.  

So I think it boils down to accepting that liberalism or freedom or whatever you want to call it is an important part of our system, but definitely not the only part.  And that is as it should be.  

But much hot air, much ink and an incalculable quantity of blood has been spilt over this question so I'm not going to pretend I have the answer. 

I don't know much about R v Brown beyond what I have written above.  I do think "consent" is an interesting issue in English law, though.  In tort, there is clear public policy protection around the lawfulness of consent and waivers in so far as there is any attempt to escape liability for death and personal injury through negligence.   The same principle of protecting the person even in the face of their own desires is propelling the legal decisions above.  

And challenging these nanny state regulations is what true libertarians (such as I and many others blessed with far better brains) will always do.  

If someone is tragically killed on a rugby field its a horrible story.  If someone is accidentally killed mid sex game it’s lurid tabloid societal baiting stuff.

What people wish to get up to in private is entirely up to them as long as everyone is consenting and no one else is affected.

I agree, the role and purpose of the state is an interesting question, although unfortunately the state of the State is such that it really ought to have no real role.  

And who do we really want setting the boundaries of public morality (if indeed we want a thing called public morality)?  Magistrates?  Politicians?  Clergy?  And what is the reference point, is it something objective, or is it driven by whatever sordid desire the magistrate/judge/politician is currently suppressing?

well now we are into the core of it, Foolster.

This is where the historical basis for the UK constitution becomes logically understandable and the modern version of it becomes the problem.

With an established church, a monarchy as defender of the faith and the person to whom a Parliament comprised of democratically elected representatives and a second house including representatives of the senior Judiciary and Church leaders etc etc, and a separated operational judiciary and executive etc there is at least some clarity as to how your question might have been answered.

but now we have cunted it all up with the Press vilifying the judiciary, with the politicisation of the courts, the weakening of the monarchy and the absolute ineptness of the legislature and, to some extend, the executive and administrative elements of we've empowered the great unwashed with the X-factor Vote (I mean referendum) ... well fuck knows where we are at but it is certainly not working.    I think the fact (but not my preferred answer) is that the arbiter of it all is now Joe Public, through various media, expressing views which are reactive and not coherent.  Hence the confusion.

....and the person to whom a Parliament ...accounts...

I’d love to do some kind of social media experiment a bit like twitter or instagram but where everyone is only allowed to have ten followers and only allowed to follow ten people. 

Be interesting to see which topics gain traction when celebrities and influencers are reduced in power like that.

and there is plenty of stuff in play about where conduct on the rugby pitch moves from consent to what would otherwise be common assault to ABH and beyond to which the "consent" of turning up in team kit does not apply

Which is why I've always considered boxing a better example than rugby.

Something which you'd never get the go ahead to introduce in this day and age as it is basically consenting to get punched until you have (over a career) a greater or lesser degree of brain injury. Actually American Football has a real issue over this as even played 'properly' there is a real tendency towards long term brain damage that has been systematically covered up by the governing bodies, teams and the players themselves.

What people wish to get up to in private is entirely up to them as long as everyone is consenting and no one else is affected.

 But its the "consenting" bit that's the problem.

Weren't you just on here complaining about someone whose benefits got docked because of the way they chose to present themselves?  There are plenty of people out there who aren't fit to make their own decisions and the more misguided and stupid the actions the more we should be assuming that you can't genuinely have consented to it.

The actions of this guy are actually pretty mild put up against the people who want to have limbs amputated.  I'm pretty comfortable with the idea of the state taking the line that if you want your arm cut off for no good reason then there is something medically wrong with you and you can't 'consent' to it.  That raises other issues over what the right treatment is (up to and including cutting the limb off if the view is the person is going to do something stupid otherwise) but I think clear lines over what it is 'reasonable' to consent to is an okay idea in principle - provided you don't let prejudices get in the way of it to too great an idea. 

i.e. if someone wants their tongue split is it really any worse / more dangerous than going out and getting a boob job?  Its less mainstream - but I don't see why (in the absence of info to the contrary) it shouldn't be something that you can pop down to a plastic surgery clinic and get done (assuming you can't already).

I've always chuckled at the idea of judges handing down judgement in things like R v Brown and moralising before then going back to chambers stripping off and asking Miss Whiplash to beat them the way nursey did back at school.