The Crown Prosecution Service has denied claims that it has been targeting gay men for looking at legal adult pornography.

According to criminal defence solicitor Myles Jackman, the CPS pursued a gay man for possession of alleged indecent pornographic images over a 580-day period.

The charges were finally dismissed on 1 November when Mr Jackman proved to prosecutors that there was no case to answer. The defence produced conclusive evidence that all participants in the pornographic images were of legal age of consent.

Mr Jackman used forensic experts to establish the age of all actors in the images. However, this was not sufficient to bring the prosecution to a halt. The CPS continued to pursue the case long after receiving conclusive evidence that all the images were legitimate gay adult pornography, and not of child abuse.

In Mr Jackman’s opinion, these actions could amount to a “homophobic witch-hunt”. Wrongfully accused of viewing images of child abuse, the lawyers says the defendant suffered severe psychological harm and disruption to his life. Mr Jackman believes this could have been avoided had the CPS taken a more common-sense approach to what was legitimate adult gay pornography.

The false charges related to an incident in September 2011, when the defendant stayed overnight for a conference and used a computer provided in his bedroom to browse gay pornography. These images, of young-looking adult men, often known as ‘twink porn’ within the gay community, were discovered by a subsequent guest using the same room and reported.

Mr Jackman has defended several gay men on allegations relating to their sexual identity. Charges have been made under the Obscene Publications Act, possession of so-called ‘extreme pornography’, and alleged indecent images.

In each case, the prosecution has either been thrown out before trial, or rejected by the jury on hearing the evidence.

One of the most high profile cases involved Simon Walsh, a former aide to London Mayor Boris Johnson and barrister specialising in police misconduct. Prosecuted for possession of images of a private adult sex party, in which he was a participant, Mr Walsh was found not guilty by jury in Kingston Crown Court in August 2012.

Mr Jackman, an expert in obscenity law is also a legal adviser for Backlash, which provides academic and legal resources in the defence of freedom of sexual expression.

He believes urgent action is needed to prevent badly written legislation and poor charging procedures from discriminating against gay people and offering a state-sanction to hatred of sexual minorities.

In response, a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service told PinkNews.co.uk: “It is illegal to possess or obtain sexually explicit images of people aged under 18 and prosecutions for such offences are not uncommon. The sex or sexual orientation of those pictured is entirely irrelevant.

“The images in this case showed what appeared to be males below the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity, which the judge agreed was a reasonable conclusion, and this was supported by the computer’s search history. It was on this basis that we decided that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the defendant.

“The defence asserted that the models were over 18 but did not provide conclusive evidence of this until 28 October, more than nine months after the defendant was charged. When this evidence was provided, the case was reassessed and the prosecution was stopped.

“This decision, like the decision to charge, was taken on the evidence available to us. Any suggestion that factors irrelevant to the evidence were considered is completely baseless.”

The definition of a child was altered from 16 to 18 years by section 45(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, in force from 01 May 2004.