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3 Kingston L. Rev. 37 (1971-1973)
The Logic of Lewdness

handle is hein.journals/knglr3 and id is 39 raw text is: THE LOGIC OF LEWDNESS

In 1969 it was noted by Maurice Kay:I
While the law remains unpredictable, there is a danger that the prosecuting
authorities may try to circumvent the 1959 Obscene Publications Act by basing
prosecutions upon, for example, The Post Office Act 1953, which makes it an
offence to send a postal packet which enclosed obscene or indecent matter, or the
common law crime of conspiring to corrupt public morals.
The recent case of R. v. Anderson2 shows how far the predictions may
have come true. Far from having been clarified, the law of obscenity has
sunk to a more confused and confusing level. The facts, which are
well-known, need only be summarized: the three editors of Oz were
originally charged on three counts alleging contraventions of The Obscene
Publications Act 1959,3 in that they published an obscene article (Oz
28-Schoolkids Issue), and had obscene articles for publication for gain.
They were also charged with sending indecent and obscene articles through
the post, contrary to The Post Office Act 1953, and with conspiracy to
produce a magazine containing obscene and lewd articles, with intent to
debauch and corrupt the morals of children and young persons. They were
acquitted of the conspiracy-the jury being satisfied that the required
intent had not been proved-but convicted on the remaining four counts.
Sentences of imprisonment were given, and the Company, Oz Publications
Ltd., were heavily fined. They appealed against both conviction and
sentence. Seeming to respond to public pressure, the Court of Appeals
allowed the appeals against the convictions under The Obscene
Publications Act but dismissed the appeals against conviction under The
Post Office Act, though the six months' term of imprisonment imposed on
each editor was suspended for two years. The fine imposed on the
Company was drastically reduced.
There will probably never be a truly satisfactory law on obscenity, but
it must be regretted that the Court of Appeal did not take the opportunity
to clarify the existing law. The present law controlling obscenity is to be
* After this article was submitted for publication, the case of R. v. Anderson &
Others has been reported since at [19711 3 All E.R. 1152 C.A., but was too late to
include in the body of the article-Ed.
'Depravity and Corruption for the Public Good' (1969) 32 M.L.R. 198 at p. 202.
2 R. v. Anderson; R. v. Neville; R. v. Dennis; R. v. Oz Publications Ink Ltd C.A.,
reported in The Times, 5th November, 1971.
3s.2(1) as amended by s.1(1) Obscene Publications Act, 1964.
4 s.11.
sLord Widgery C.J., James and Bridge JJ.



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