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A CIVIL servant alleged to have posted an internet blog which fantasised about the rape, torture and murder of pop band Girls Aloud is to stand trial in what could be a landmark case.

Darryn Walker, 34, of Mowbray Street, South Shields, appeared before Newcastle Crown Court yesterday charged under the Obscene Publication Act of 1959.

He was arrested after complaints were made to the Internet Watch Foundation in July last year after a story was published on an erotic website which specialises in fantasies about torture, mutiliation and murder.

The charge was not put and Walker was further remanded on unconditional bail after the case was adjourned until the week of December 8 for further mention.

A trial date has been provisionally fixed for March 16.

The court heard smartly-dressed Walker would be applying for leading counsel - a QC - to represent him at trial.

Part of his "position statement" prepared by his defence team and read out in court described the case as "an extremely important prosecution which has the capacity to have a chilling effect on freedom of expression on the internet in the UK".

Girls Aloud, whose members include Newcastle's Cheryl Cole, shot to fame in 2002 after appearing on ITV1's Popstars programme.

They have since become one of the most successful British pop bands of the decade with a record-breaking 18 consecutive top 10 singles.


LANDMARK CASE Girls Aloud and, inset, Darryn Walker, who faces trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 23, 2008
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