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Volume 202: debated on Thursday 23 January 1992

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To ask the Attorney-General (1) what recent representations he has received concerning the publication of the book "Juliette" by the Marquis de Sade;(2) if he will make a statement on the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to bring prosecutions against Arrow Books for the publication of the book "Juliette" by the Marquis de Sade.

The acting Director of Public Prosecutions announced on 20 December 1991 that he did not intend to institute criminal proceedings against Arrow Books in relation to the publication to which the hon. Member refers. He had concluded, after consulting senior Treasury counsel and leading counsel, that the evidence was insufficient to afford a realistic prospect of conviction. In coming to that decision the acting director had also had regard to the nature of the book, the circumstances of its publication and the statutory defences available under the Obscene Publications Act 1959.Since that decision was announced, I have received representations from five Members of Parliament and eight other individuals.