HC Deb 28 March 1968 vol 761 cc1712-3
33. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what grounds were 1,479 negatives seized on the premises of Jean Straker, 12 Soho Square, London, W.1; what charges were preferred against him, under what Statute; and whether, in the light of the court's decision in this case, he will now seek to amend the Obscene Publications Act.

Mr. Taverne

Some 2,000 negatives were seized last June at these premises under a magistrate's warrant issued under the Obscene Publications Acts. Mr. Straker was subsequently charged in respect of some 700 of these negatives under Section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act, 1959, as amended by Section 1 of the 1964 Act. I have no proposals for amending the Obscene Publications Acts.

Mr. Hamling

Why not? Is my hon. and learned Friend not aware that, throughout the West End, obscene pictures are widely on sale, yet it is an artist who is prosecuted?

Mr. Taverne

The question of whether he was justifiably prosecuted is not one for me. He had an opportunity of trial by jury, which he did not accept, and he put forward a defence of public good. It was a matter for the court to decide this and is not a matter on which I could judge.