The Christian Institute

News Release

Christians take Council to High Court for granting ‘sex market’ licence

In the High Court in London today, Mr Justice Elias ruled that there should be a judicial review of Newcastle City Council’s decision to licence a three day sex market in one of the North East’s premier family venues. The case could have implications for similar events planned throughout the UK.

On 7th August 2000 the Council gave permission to Xsensual Limited to hold a market in the Telewest Arena with up to 92 stalls for the sale of restricted 18 videos and other ‘adult’ paraphernalia. The event also features strippers and lap dancers.

The Christian Institute obtained the High Court ruling earlier today. The judicial review will cover the decision to grant the licence for a sex market (rather than an individual sex shop which they agree is all the legislation permits). The Council?s formal policy of ignoring all moral objections to the event will also be subject to High Court scrutiny.

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of the Christian Institute, said today

“I believe the Council has acted unlawfully. I am delighted that the High Court has given us leave for judicial review. The law was never intended to allow this sort of event. I hope that the High Court quashes the licence decision and sets a precedent to outlaw all sex markets.

What Newcastle Council have done is to drive a coach and horses through the licencing laws.

Parliament intended that everyone who sells restricted 18 videos and sex articles requires a licence. But Newcastle thinks otherwise. They granted a blanket licence to cover a huge venue. The Council hasn’t a clue who will be selling restricted 18 pornography in the Telewest Arena. A blanket licence means that proper safeguards have been put aside.

Such was the clamour to issue the licence that the Council made out the licence to a non-existent entity – Style Image Ltd (which changed its name to Xsensual Limited last year). The Council has bungled many details in the licencing procedure. Now they will have to explain themselves in the High Court.”


Contact Simon Calvert on (0191) 281 5664.

Background Notes for Editors:

  1. The Christian Institute is a registered charity which seeks to promote the Christian faith in the UK.
  2. The scope of the judicial review:

The judicial review will be concerned with the central issue of whether a single sex shop licence can be used to permit a sex market with many sellers of ?sex articles?. The review will also consider whether Newcastle Council were entitled to have a policy of ignoring moral objections.

  1. Xsensual Limited are publicly advertising similar events in Sheffield and Cardiff which may well be affected if the High Court rules that the event in the Telewest Arena is unlawful. In Sheffield the City Council have already granted a licence to the Sheffield Arena. It is thought that Cardiff City Council have not yet received an application.
  2. The following matters of serious concern have been raised directly with Newcastle City Council, although they are outside the scope of the judicial review:
  3. The failure of the Council to perform even the most basic checks on the application.
  4. The granting of the licence to a non-existent entity, Style Image Ltd.
  5. The discrepancy between the results of Companies House searches and the claims of the licence applicant, Mr Jack Frere, that he is a Director and shareholder of Xsensual Limited.
  6. The failure of the applicant to declare details of Company shareholders.
  7. The discrepancy between Mr Frere’s claim that his company holds a sex establishment licence in Brent and Brent Council?s contention that no such licence had been issued to Xsensual Limited. (It is Wembley Exhibition Centre which holds a sex shop licence for those premises).
  8. Xsensual?s website advertising for the event in the Telewest Arena (at which was changed after the granting of the licence to allow access to pornography.