Lawyer de­fended pub­lisher in ‘Lady Chat­ter­ley’s Lover’ case

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - OBITUARIES / WORLD - BY JILL LAW­LESS

Lawyer Jeremy Hutchin­son, a tow­er­ing le­gal fig­ure who helped lib­er­al­ize Bri­tish laws around sex and free­dom of ex­pres­sion, has died. He was 102.

Hutchin­son’s for­mer law firm, Three Ray­mond Build­ings, said Tues­day that he died a day ear­lier. No cause of death was given.

In 1960 he was part of the team that suc­cess­fully de­fended Pen­guin Books against ob­scen­ity charges for pub­lish­ing D.H. Lawrence’s novel “Lady Chat­ter­ley’s Lover.”

The book was first pub­lished in Italy in 1928, but was banned in its full, un­cen­sored form in Bri­tain un­til Pen­guin pub­lished it in 1960.

The novel scan­dal­ized some; a pros­e­cu­tion lawyer in­fa­mously asked in court whether it was “a book that you would … wish your wife or your ser­vants to read?” Hutchin­son felt that at­ti­tude was out of touch with an in­creas­ingly lib­eral and egal­i­tar­ian so­ci­ety, and the jury proved him right.

Hutchin­son had fought to have as many fe­male ju­rors as pos­si­ble be­cause, he later said, “women are so much more sen­si­ble about sex.”

He went on to fight in court on be­half of the erotic novel “Fanny Hill,” the ex­plicit movie “Last Tango in Paris” and the aca­demic book “The Mouth and Oral Sex.”

In 1982 he de­fended the di­rec­tor of the play “The Ro­mans In Bri­tain” in a pros­e­cu­tion for gross in­de­cency. Hutchin­son demon­strated that an au­di­ence mem­ber who claimed to have seen an erect pe­nis could have been look­ing at an ac­tor’s thumb.

Other clients in­cluded model Chris­tine Keeler, a key fig­ure in the 1963 “Pro­fumo Af­fair” sex-and-es­pi­onage scan­dal; Soviet spy Ge­orge Blake; and drug smug­gler Howard Marks.

Born in 1915 to par­ents who were part of Lon­don’s lit­er­ary Blooms­bury group, Hutchin­son at­tended Oxford Univer­sity and served in the Royal Navy dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, sur­viv­ing the tor­pe­do­ing of his ship HMS Kelly dur­ing the Bat­tle of Crete.

After the war he be­came a crim­i­nal lawyer and was made a mem­ber of the House of Lords in 1978 as Baron Hutchin­son of Lulling­ton.

Writer John Mor­timer said Hutchin­son was one of the in­spi­ra­tions for his char­ac­ter Rumpole of the Bai­ley, a lo­qua­cious, wine-lov­ing de­fence bar­ris­ter.

Hutchin­son was mar­ried to ac­tress Peggy Ashcroft from 1940 un­til their di­vorce in 1966; she died in 1991. In 1966 he mar­ried June Os­born, who died in 2006. He is sur­vived by a son and a daugh­ter.

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