Sharkbait

Does making a booking constitute a Promise to Pay?

55 posts in this topic

Apologies if this has been asked before, but I am wondering if punters may be vulnerable to prosecution under the new law if they merely make a booking with a lady, who subsequently turns out to be "forced, coerced etc".

For example, a Punter calls a Brothel on Tuesday, and makes an appointment to see Fifi on Thursday. On the Wednesday, the Brothel is raided by PC Plod, who discovers evidence that Fifi has been subjected to force, coercion etc. Consulting the booking records, PC Plod would only need to lay in wait for the Punter to turn up for his appointment on Thursday, or maybe trace him through phone records.

Under the new law, the prosecution has to prove that the punter has made or promised payment for the sexual services of a prostitute. Whether those services are provided or not is irrelevant.

So, in this case, has the Punter promised payment? And would he be guilty of an offence?

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My guess is that Plod will be happy jsut to charge those poor punters found on the premises on Tuesday. Just taking a couple of punters to court will get the publicity and please Harperson.

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I don't think so.

I presume that the words "or promises" were included in the section to ensure that liability could not be avoided by the defendant saying "I never actually made any payment." Otherwise of course somebody who pays after receiving the service would escape prosecution if arrested during the service.

IMHO a "promise" is made if the service commences on the implied basis that payment will be made at a later stage. I reckon that in those circumstances the promise is made at the start of the service, and not at the time of booking.

Do I have any legal authority for this?...............No !

Probably just as well not to use the word "promise" in the context of payment when making a booking :)

Seriously though I really cannot see anybody ever being prosecuted under the section without ever having met the girl.

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So, in this case, has the Punter promised payment? And would he be guilty of an offence?

The way I understand it, it's highly likely.

(Bet SaS comes in and says I'm incorrect.)

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The way I understand it, it's highly likely.

(Bet SaS comes in and says I'm incorrect.)

I really don't know, my guess is that any legal definition/usage of "promise" in this area would have to ignore any usage/definition used in "contract" law owing to the fact that a contract in this area is not enforceable. From what I can make out the "general" legal definition of "promise" is "a firm agreement to perform an act, refrain from acting, or make a payment or delivery.", of course that then leads on to what is a "firm agreement" etc., I guess it will (if it actually comes to it) be a matter of "interpretation given the facts at hand" and how badly a conviction is wanted.

I think they would have to want a conviction pretty badly to dip their toe in that particular puddle, however I think it is reasonable to assume that if the punter had turned up to his appointment, even if "gain" were not mentioned at the time of the making of the appointment, that it is highly unlikely that he would not have paid (both he and the prostitute would know this), therefore the "promise" would have been "implied", mind you I think that "implied promise" only applies when a legal obligation is involved, so that might not apply.

All in all I think this is a very murky and dusty area, and not one that the first few cases (if they happen) would involve, a few solid convictions (if they happen) might tempt them to spread their wings a bit though.

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I really don't know, my guess is that any legal definition/usage of "promise" in this area would have to ignore any usage/definition used in "contract" law owing to the fact that a contract in this area is not enforceable. From what I can make out the "general" legal definition of "promise" is "a firm agreement to perform an act, refrain from acting, or make a payment or delivery.", of course that then leads on to what is a "firm agreement" etc., I guess it will (if it actually comes to it) be a matter of "interpretation given the facts at hand" and how badly a conviction is wanted.

I think they would have to want a conviction pretty badly to dip their toe in that particular puddle, however I think it is reasonable to assume that if the punter had turned up to his appointment, even if "gain" were not mentioned at the time of the making of the appointment, that it is highly unlikely that he would not have paid (both he and the prostitute would know this), therefore the "promise" would have been "implied", mind you I think that "implied promise" only applies when a legal obligation is involved, so that might not apply.

All in all I think this is a very murky and dusty area, and not one that the first few cases (if they happen) would involve, a few solid convictions (if they happen) might tempt them to spread their wings a bit though.

I'm basically with Silverado. As he says if it's used it'll be used in a pay later scenario where someone has or is receiving the service when caught and says "but I hadn't actually paid yet".

However the same phrase "promise to pay" also exists in the legislation on paid sex with a child. In that scenario you would have to say that if someone has (knowingly) made a booking with a child, then the police would certainly feel justified in arresting you using the "promise to pay" part. They're not going to have to wait until you actually abuse the child....

So clearly the possibility does exist at least in theory, however in reality the police would have to be nuts to attempt it. In this offence you're not going to knowingly book a sex slave, so they couldn't possibly hold someone in strict liability for making that booking, when they've never met the girl in person. It would be thrown out of court in double quick time.

If (and it's a big IF) this law is ever used at all the initial prosecutions will be of punters caught with their pants down with a sex slave. If those prosecutions go through (which is also open to serious debate) the police may be encouraged to start experimenting with the definition of "deception" and "other forms of coercion" e.g a girl who's told she'll get 80% of the takings and then only gets 50% has clearly been deceived into working, but even that would be a pretty tough sell for a strict liability offence....so then going after punters who've only made a booking would be suicide for the legislation.

I wouldn't worry about it. The reality will be that the law will either never be used or it will be rendered useless by case law within a few years i.e by their first attempts being thrown out of court for reasons that I've discussed on other threads.

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This brings back very hazy memories of very simplistic law course way back.

If a contract is not in writing, is it not necessary for one party to give value to make it a contract??

But then it is for an "immoral" purpose and therefore not enforceable.

if the contarct were enforceable, would a client who had not received the OWO he specified & agreed at the time of the booking be entiled to recompense?

The Law really should keep out of the bedroom and concentrate dealing with "intent to do harm".

But also restaurants do, I think have a right to payment if a party books, does not turn up, and has not notified cancellation

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I think that under a strict interpretation of the law, a "promise to pay" has been made. A contract exists (albeit unenforceable) between the Punter and Fifi (with the brothel acting as agent). The Punter has secured the promise of a service in return for "a promise to pay".

I'm quite sure you're right about a court throwing out any such suggestion, especially in the early stages. But I think there might be a danger that the authorities might try to intimidate punters into accepting a Police Caution by insisting that he has broken the law by making a booking with a coerced WG. Since the real punishment is not the fine, but the publicity, there may be some punters who would submit to such intimidation, rather than risk exposure.

Talking of which, presumably any unwelcome publicity would just be reported in the local press - ie local to the alleged offence, not the punter's home town? Another reason not to punt too close to home!

I actually agree with those who say that this new law will never be used. It's main prurpose was always to frighten punters away, as there would be no way of knowing whether or not they were committing an offence. But it became emasculated when "controlled for gain" was replaced with "forced, coerced" etc. As Pentameter showed, there are probably very few WG's in the UK working against their will.

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Does the new law apply to massage + Hr , or b2b+hr ? Is HR a sexual act ?

Or is it just for sex ?

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WGs hardly ever use their real name, so the prosecution may have to produce the girl with the name one asks for sexual services from.

Sorry M'lord, I booked with Big Julie, not with 'er.

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Does the new law apply to massage + Hr , or b2b+hr ? Is HR a sexual act ?

Yes. See section 78 SOA2003.

"Sexual" .For the purposes of this Part (except section 71), penetration, touching or any other activity is sexual if a reasonable person would consider that

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WGs hardly ever use their real name, so the prosecution may have to produce the girl with the name one asks for sexual services from.

Sorry M'lord, I booked with Big Julie, not with 'er.

More likely..." The girl I booked was Swedish, aged 20, size 8, former Playboy model etc. The girl you said I booked was Albanian, aged 30, size 14 and definitely not a model. Must be a different girl. I didn't book her. Can I go now please ?"

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Apologies if this has been asked before, but I am wondering if punters may be vulnerable to prosecution under the new law if they merely make a booking with a lady, who subsequently turns out to be "forced, coerced etc".

For example, a Punter calls a Brothel on Tuesday, and makes an appointment to see Fifi on Thursday. On the Wednesday, the Brothel is raided by PC Plod, who discovers evidence that Fifi has been subjected to force, coercion etc. Consulting the booking records, PC Plod would only need to lay in wait for the Punter to turn up for his appointment on Thursday, or maybe trace him through phone records.

Under the new law, the prosecution has to prove that the punter has made or promised payment for the sexual services of a prostitute. Whether those services are provided or not is irrelevant.

So, in this case, has the Punter promised payment? And would he be guilty of an offence?

The question is NOT "would he be guilty of an offence?", but "could he be convicted of the offence?

I am just SO glad that this garbage was not around when I took the Law Society's Qualifying Examination!

Think "Bait n'switch" a moment! I telephone and get an exciting description of your friend "Fifi" - actually the girl who calls herself Fifi at that parlour on tuesdays, Miranda at another on Fridays, and SexyCindi the rest of the week, as a supposed Indi, is busy when I get there, so Bambi, is laid on for me. Just try proving that Fifi, Miranda and SexyCindi are all one person (real name something unprounceable in Bulgarian) and there is a problem, even before Bambi comes into the act!.

The prosecution still has to prove that a real person was coerced, etc.,, AND that Joe Punter promised to pay for her sexual services. Given that Joe promised to pay for one of the three names I've postulated, prove that that name uniquely identifies the trafficked, coerced Bulgarian.

Punters! Plead Not Guilty - refuse to accept a Caution. My defence will simply adopt the oldest line of all: "You say I dunnit? You fucking prove it, mate!"

Absolute offence it may be, as to not needing to prove Joe knew or was reckless as to whether she was coerced, but for the rest of it, the Prosecutor has to produce credible evidence of every element of the charge, and I think that he is going to find it very difficult. Particularly he needs to prove that the Prostitute (of any sex, I think?) was coerced, and then he has to prove that it was she that Joe booked. I think that they'll try to bring the Press along on raids, and encourage them to name (and shame) every male on the premises. Someone will need to come out and instruct counsel to get an injunction restraining police/CPS from running that sort of proxy justice. I think it offends against the ECHR.

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Does the new law apply to massage + Hr , or b2b+hr ? Is HR a sexual act ?

Or is it just for sex ?

Do you think it is "sexual"?

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Yes, the burden of proof lies with the police, and given the recent public criticism of the CPS and their failings, I suspect neither have the time or inclination, and the chances of a successful conviction are minimal at best.

Punter would always claim mistaken identity on both sides - wrong girl, wrong client.

Even if it did happen, it's soft targets, and no different to a dork in a speed camera van on a motorway bridge picking those over 70 - (almost) everyone's a winner in his eyes.

If only we could move away from target-driven policing and start to revert to common sense policing....but that's another debate.

Napoleon was reputed to say Britain is a nation of shopkeepers - the modern analagy is that we are a nation of box tickers and form fillers.

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I thought the 'promise to pay' didn't stand up in legal terms for these situations, as has been discovered when guys have decided not to pay at the end of booking or cases where rape could have been applied.

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I think that under a strict interpretation of the law, a "promise to pay" has been made. A contract exists (albeit unenforceable) between the Punter and Fifi (with the brothel acting as agent). The Punter has secured the promise of a service in return for "a promise to pay".

I'm quite sure you're right about a court throwing out any such suggestion, especially in the early stages. But I think there might be a danger that the authorities might try to intimidate punters into accepting a Police Caution by insisting that he has broken the law by making a booking with a coerced WG. Since the real punishment is not the fine, but the publicity, there may be some punters who would submit to such intimidation, rather than risk exposure.

Talking of which, presumably any unwelcome publicity would just be reported in the local press - ie local to the alleged offence, not the punter's home town? Another reason not to punt too close to home!

I actually agree with those who say that this new law will never be used. It's main prurpose was always to frighten punters away, as there would be no way of knowing whether or not they were committing an offence. But it became emasculated when "controlled for gain" was replaced with "forced, coerced" etc. As Pentameter showed, there are probably very few WG's in the UK working against their will.

OK since you're insistant on being paranoid, it also wouldn't happen as the costs involved in tracing punters who'd done nothing more than made a booking would be prohibitive. They're only going to go after men caught in the raids they already do.

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I thought the 'promise to pay' didn't stand up in legal terms for these situations, as has been discovered when guys have decided not to pay at the end of booking or cases where rape could have been applied.

well no - rape was thrown out as consent cannot be withdrawn after the fact. You can't be wildly shagging someone saying "give it to me big boy, you're so good" and encouraging the client and then when he doesn't pay say it was rape. You consented. You never told him to stop. His actions at no stage filled the requirements for rape....which is penetration without consent.

As for being prosecuted for non-payment the police would say it's a civil matter and then as you say the contract is deemed immoral anyway, but the phrase "promise to pay" doesn't imply the contract was enforceable. Yes of course you could refuse to pay and not be held accountable; but you still promised. That's all the law requires. It makes no mention of a legally binding contract.

For example the law on paid sex with a child has the same phrase. If you were to ring a brothel and knowingly make a booking with a child I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't get out of it by saying that the contract was immoral and unenforceable. You still tried to arrange paid sex with a child. You could try wriggling out of it by saying I never actually discussed payment since most of us don't actually mention that on the phone....see if that worked....but not on whether the contract was enforceable if you didn't pay.

So in theory "promise to pay" could be used, but only in "buy now pay later" situations and not, as some have said, simply on the basis of a phone call.

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Fair dos, if a guy was prosecuted for promising to pay for sex with a forced prostitute but didn't, could he then be taken to Civil Court?As it had been found in a Criminal Court that his promise to pay was legal.

Also since I've now noticed the home office listing on Google states "from 1st April sex with forced prostitutes will be illegal" that implies payment doesn't need to be involved!

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Fair dos, if a guy was prosecuted for promising to pay for sex with a forced prostitute but didn't, could he then be taken to Civil Court?As it had been found in a Criminal Court that his promise to pay was legal.

Also since I've now noticed the home office listing on Google states "from 1st April sex with forced prostitutes will be illegal" that implies payment doesn't need to be involved!

nooooo, his promise to pay was a promise to pay. It's still not legally enforceable as it's an immoral contract. The new law doesn't mention contracts at all. Just a promise.

As for the poster....I can't believe you're even asking this. It's just a poster. Not a legal framework, or a law. The law still says "pay or promise to pay a prostitute who is being forced, threatened, deceived or otherwise coerced into providing the services". That's the law. The poster doesn't mention a lot of things but they're trying to keep it simple, although it's probably a good indicator that they won't be trying to experiment with the definition of deception etc.

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Punters! Plead Not Guilty - refuse to accept a Caution. My defence will simply adopt the oldest line of all: "You say I dunnit? You fucking prove it, mate!"

It's supposed to be Sports Relief weekend where people make pledges for charidee and good causes. So i'd like to propose and make this pledge:

"I pledge that if charged with anything related to any paid for sexy activity, I will plead a big 'NOT GUILTY' all the way to the end of any jury trial, and will not accept any caution, plea bargain or other inducement along the way" yours sincerely, Mr Bongo, who's not getting any relief this weekend as am working throughout.

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Punter

I'm not referring to the poster. I've referring to the listing on Google which states "from 1st April it will be illegal to have sex with a forced prostitute" quite clearly. It only clarifies the law IF you click to the home office website..............

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Punter

I'm not referring to the poster. I've referring to the listing on Google which states "from 1st April it will be illegal to have sex with a forced prostitute" quite clearly. It only clarifies the law IF you click to the home office website..............

(bangs head against table)poster/website who cares?!??!?! if you don't pay she's not a prostitute is she? and it's still not a legal document. It WILL be illegal to have sex with a forced prostitute, but the law is always more complicated than the soundbites. I'm really lost now as to what you're actually trying to say. I've explained what clause 14 says and that's what will be illegal.

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Punter

I'm not referring to the poster. I've referring to the listing on Google which states "from 1st April it will be illegal to have sex with a forced prostitute" quite clearly. It only clarifies the law IF you click to the home office website..............

Ruth

As Punter992005 says, the Google ad or poster gives just a simple one line summary of the new section.

A bit like " Don't Drink and Drive". That doesn't mean that you can't have a cup of tea or half a shandy.

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So if a forced woman choses a partner he will be commiting an offence?Lets commit the pimps - easy better prove to any future partner I'm not forced per se.

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