‘ Lady Chat­ter­ley’ lawyer helped lib­er­al­ize sex, ex­pres­sion laws


As­so­ci­ated Press

LONDON — 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 him­right.

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 “Fan­nyHill,” 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 HowardMarks.

Born in 1915 to par­ents who were part of London’s lit­er­ary Blooms­bury group, Hutchin­son at­tended Ox­ford Univer­sity and served in the Roy­alNavy dur­ingWorldWar II, sur­viv­ing the tor­pe­do­ing of his shipHMSKelly 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.

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

Hutchin­son was mar­ried to the 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.


A line forms out­side The Old Bai­ley Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court, in London, on Oct. 27, 1960, for ad­mis­sion to the pub­lic gallery where the “Lady Chat­ter­ley’s Lover” case was be­ing heard.

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