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Obscenity Laws

Volume 264: debated on Friday 20 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the topics which have been discussed at the last two meetings of the working group on obscenity. [38169]

The group has met three times so far. The main topics discussed have been the use of computer networks for the importation and dissemination of obscene material; the enforcement of laws against child pornography; the display of indecent material in newsagents; and research to compare what is considered indecent and obscene in other countries.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions and convictions there were under section 2 and section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 in (a) 1970, (b) 1975, (c) 1980, (d) 1985, (e) 1990 and (f) 1994; and how many of these did not involve pornography. [38167]

The available information is given in the table. Data before 1979 are not available and the statistics cannot separately identify cases which involve pornography. The 1994 data are provisional.

The number of offenders prosecuted and the number found guilty at all courts for offences of possessing obscene material for gain1
England and WalesNumber of offenders
Number of prosecutions183275174309
Total number found guilty118226116266
1 An offence under section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 as amended by the Obscene Publications Act, 1964 section 1.
2 1994 data is provisional.