Brendan McCarthy tongue-splitting ‘Dr.Evil’ on trial – BBC Stories

I’ve given my life to
body modification and piercing. To have it come back
and hit me like this, it’s crushed me completely,
I’m a shell of who I used to be. These practices are barbaric practices
and are akin to cosmetic surgery. If you consent to any harm being caused to you,
then the general principal is, that’s not going to make the other person
not liable for an offence. They are basically dictating to people,
what they can and cannot do to their bodies The worst case scenario for me would be
10 to 15 years in prison My name is Brendan McCarthy, but for the last 10 years people have known me as ‘Dr Evil’. There’s a lot of different body modifications that
people are asking for these days. It’s becoming a lot more mainstream. Tongue splitting, ear pointing… horns, transdermal implants… scarification, branding. Are you OK? Yeah? It’s awesome. The charges that I have at the moment relate to an They all gave written consent. They voluntarily contacted me and came to my studio. And they’re still happy with the work even now. These practices are barbaric practices
and are akin to cosmetic surgery. Now for cosmetic surgery, a high level of
regulation is attached to that area. Tattoo parlours are registered. This exposes that these practices,
which are becoming increasingly popular, do require proper legislation and we’d be
asking national government to progress that. This is the first time we’ve seen the legalities of
body modification challenged in the courts. As far as I was concerned, it was
within a grey area in the law. It wasn’t necessarily lawful
and that concerned me because these people assumed they were
operating within the limits of the law. Generally speaking, consent
does not negate liability. So if you consent to any harm being caused
to you, then the general principle is that’s not going to make the other
person not liable for an offence. There are only certain circumstances where your consent
is going to mean that an offence is not being committed. Things like regulated sports,
regulated games, particularly boxing certainly tattooing and piercing,
surgery certainly, so there’s a good reason to
allow you to consent to that injury. We seem to have been
content to let this fly under the radar until someone was prosecuted. And it seems then very unfair that Brendan’s
had to be a test case in this instance. Do you feel that you are properly qualified to carry out these procedures? There are no actual qualifications
in this profession I have done extensive training in
this country and in Europe and I’ve even been to America and done
some training with some top artists and I feel I know exactly what I need to know
for the procedures that I perform. I’ve got a baby on the way and… It’s just thrown my life completely… Sorry. We met down in Dawlish in Devon in his old tattoo studio. And that was six years ago. We’re expecting our first child together. Eight and a half months gone, so not long left. It’s hit him more than anyone will ever realise. He’s sat at home and cried,
he doesn’t eat, doesn’t sleep properly, for over 18 months now. I just have to put on a front
to show everything’s ok. But when I’m on my own I just have my moments
and try and come to terms with things. The procedure I had done
was a nipple removal and it’s one of the procedures which charges
are currently being brought against him for. Yeah there are a few reasons
people may want nipple removal. One of them mainly is massive
torso chest tattoos. Because you can create
these beautiful works of art so having a blank canvas is
what a lot or people do go for. When I was younger I had my nipples pierced.
I stretched them up so I had 6mm thick bars. There was this massive build up of scar tissue and it basically just gave me a massive complex about it. I did explain I had gone down the correct channels,
NHS and a plastic surgeon to try and get this done. And basically nobody
would want to help. It was like he was assessing me. He wanted to
know why I wanted this procedure done. He explained me all the risks. He then
basically went into, like medical history like, have I ever
suffered from depression. The procedure itself, yes,
was pretty painful. But you know, beauty is pain,
so they say. So I’m really, really happy
with what I’ve had done. It’s definitely made a massive difference to
me and improved my quality of life. I’ve been given different bail conditions where
I’m pretty much just allowed to do basic piercing, nothing else, and because of that I can’t
financially keep the studio going so I’m going to have to close
the studio and close the business. The next step for me now with the case
is there’s a hearing for consent to determine whether my client’s
consent is actually legal and lawful. The last few months have been bit of a rollercoaster,
because my daughter’s been born, which was absolutely amazing, feeling happy one minute because I’ve got my daughter and been spending time, and then I look at her and think,
how much time have I actually got with you? Having our daughter has been so exciting,
all the new things, but obviously something’s hanging over us. I’m hoping it goes in our favour. But, just the way it’s been going on,
you can’t look at it in a positive way anymore. It’s been going on for so long,
all you think is the worst. It’s not about me, it’s about them.
They don’t need to go through this. They don’t deserve it. I’m scared that he’s not going to be there. She doesn’t deserve it, she needs her dad, but that doesn’t seem to come into consideration so… I need him. I think this case
is hugely significant, I think it’s thrown the legality
of the procedures that are taking place
every day into doubt. I think the consequences of this are that if people want these procedures done, then they are likely to go to people who aren’t
operating out of clean tattoo studios, who are regulated and who are licensed. They’re saying that it’s in the interest of public safety, but it’s not because what’s going to happen now,
they’re going to send it underground. There’s gonna be, nobody’s gonna
advertise anything they do, so you’re not going to know
who’s reputable and who’s not, people are gonna do stuff underground
and then the public are really in danger. Tomorrow is… back in court I have to plead guilty, I have no option. I don’t know what to expect, they could think well we’ve got to make an example of somebody I’ve closed my business,
the company’s gone, so I’m not a threat. And all I want to do
is be with my family. I’m trying to be as positive as possible,
I’m trying to enjoy the time I’ve got, but it is difficult because it’s just such a stretch
and it’s taken a real toll on me. So I’m trying to do the best
I can but it is difficult every day.