Sunday, 27 December 2009

Sex Shops Set to Sue the Government

Today's Telegraph reports (not online) that:
"A flood of sex shops and other businesses prosecuted for selling DVDS and videos illegally during the past 25 years are preparing to sue the Government."
This relates to an admission earlier this year by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that prosecutions under the 1984 Video Recordings Act were no longer enforceable in UK courts because of a technical loophole.

The Act was passed 25 years ago in response to a moral panic over so-called video nasties, epitomised by a campaign by Mary Whitehouse, who showed a compilation tape of (out-of-context) "highlights" to shocked Conservative MPs at their 1983 party conference (The regulations actually had the opposite effect. For example videos banned under this law became a lot easier to get hold of, especially for schoolchildren like me at the time - that's another story though).

One small problem, the then Thatcher Government failed to notify Britain's real Government - the European Commission - under Directive 83/189 (now Directive 98/34), and so this makes any prosecutions under the Act invalid.

As a consequence, a number of those illegally prosecuted are now preparing to claim for damages, including those that sold pornography to children.

What a farce!

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