Action Alert: Stop the prosecution of Peter Walkey

Peter Walkey is facing trial on TUESDAY 30 August (Woolwich Crown Court) for managing a brothel because he let a woman use a room in his house to work. She wanted to be safe and he wanted to help. For that he risks a criminal conviction and possible prison.

There is no public interest in prosecuting Mr Walkey. Please write urgently to demand the prosecution is dropped.

Mr Walkey allowed a friend to work from his flat and made her safety his priority. If he is convicted and imprisoned his elderly mother will be left without her carer and his 10-year-old son will be will be left without his dad.

Mr Walkey was not managing anyone. Ms Grant, the woman who worked there, is a mature woman who saw mainly regular clients. She decided to work inside because it is much safer than working on the street. Mr Walkey didn’t take any money from her. Seventy police officers raided Mr Walkey’s home and arrested him. Mr Walkey is dyslexic and has difficulty concentrating and following complex issues. He was clearly upset and confused when interviewed but is determined to put his case in court.

Ms Grant says:

“Peter has been my friend for many years. I had money troubles and he allowed me to use his flat to see some long time clients. I always felt safe as he was there. He lives alone and enjoys the company.  He’s never asked me for money. I can’t believe what’s happened to him — it’s like he’s got caught up in some horrible nightmare just for helping out a friend. I would love to come to court to tell my side of the story but it would break my daughter’s heart to find out her mum is a prostitute.”

Mr Walkey says:

“The CPS is going ahead with the prosecution and says it’s in the public interest. Where is the public interest in taking away safe places for women to work?”

The Crown Prosecution Service guidelines for prosecution focus on “people leading or forcing others into prostitution” and those that organise prostitutes and make a living from their earnings”.  Mr Walkey wasn’t doing either. The prestigious Home Affairs Select Committee just recommended that the brothel-keeping law should be changed to allow women to work together. But what about someone like Mr Walkey What has he done that is so wrong that he deserves to be criminalised?

The law should be changed to end the criminalisation of people who assist sex workers to work, including by lending or renting them premises or are employed by them for security or as a receptionist. It is much safer to work together with others. Health and safety regulations and other labour laws should be applied against bad working conditions and exploitative bosses. New Zealand which decriminalised prostitution in 2003 saw positive changes — sex workers were more able to report violence and refuse clients and in some cases took bosses to court for harassment and labour rights violations.

Please write to ask that the prosecution against Mr Walkey is dropped:

  1. Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions:
    CPSPrivateoffice@cps.gsi.gov.uk
  2. Or through the CPS website:
    http://www.cps.gov.uk/contact/feedback_and_complaints/
  3. Twitter: @CPSUK#cps

Please copy complaint to:

and to Mr Walkey’s MP

Please note: Some people have had problems with the CPS email addresses. The emails worked when we sent our complaint letter but if you have problems, please use the contact form: https://www.cps.gov.uk/contact/feedback_and_complaints/feedback_and_complaints_form/default.aspx

MODEL LETTER

Alison Saunders

Crown Prosecution Service

Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge,

London, SE1 9HS

Dear Alison Saunders,

I write to protest about the prosecution of Mr Peter Walkey who has been charged with managing a brothel and is facing trial on 30 August at Woolwich Crown Court.

[Please say something about your situation here and why you are writing.]

Mr Walkey should not be prosecuted for allowing his friend to work from his flat. He made her safety his priority. The woman has made clear that she was in charge of her own work, that Mr Walkey didn’t ask her for money and says that she felt safer because Mr Walkeywas present. She is very upset that he is being prosecuted but like thousands of sex workers, particularly women with children, she is too scared of her daughter finding out about her work to come to court.

Mr Walkey has a 10-year-old son who will be deprived of his father’s love if he is imprisoned and his elderly mother will lose her carer. He is also likely to be evicted from his home.

The Crown Prosecution Service will be aware that there is growing pressure for a change in the unjust prostitution laws. The Home Affairs Select Committee recently recommended that “. . . brothel-keeping provisions allow sex workers to share premises”. Public opinion agrees with this. Two-thirds of people think that prostitution should be decriminalised to improve safety. Amnesty International passed policy for decriminalisation to counter human rights violations suffered by sex workers.

Please drop this cruel and wasteful prosecution of Mr Walkey on the grounds that it isn’t in the public interest to force women to work alone or on the streets where they will be more vulnerable to attack.

Sincerely,