‘Lady Chat­ter­ley’ lawyer Jeremy Hutchin­son dies at 102


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 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.

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