Regina v Perrin: CACD 22 Mar 2002

The defendant had been convicted of publishing obscene articles for gain under the Act. He lived in London, and published a web site which was stored or hosted abroad, containing pornographic items. The investigating officer had called up the web-site from within the UK. The defendant appealed saying that he had not acted within the UK, and had not committed the offence, and that the allegation was bad as imprecise, and that there had been no publication within the jurisdiction.
Held: Whilst the number of people who might be corrupted had to be more than negligible, no licence to publish was obtained because many readers or viewers would not be corrupted. The availability of the material as a preview page was relevant when considering who might see the article, and may be corrupted. That a viewer may already be corrupted is not to say that the material provided may not further corrupt him. One officer seeing the material was sufficient to constitute publication. The argument as to imprecision required additional words to be imported into the convention. The internet is a worldwide system, and applying the laws of each country in which a page may be read could lead to the most restrictive laws being universally applied. The restriction on expression did engage the defendants rights, but was necessary in a free and democratic society. It was not necessary for a prosecutor to show where the major steps in publication took place to found jurisdiction. See also CL vol 13 issue 2 for comment)


Lord Justice Kennedy, Lord Justice Potter, And Mr Justice Harrison


[2002] EWCA Crim 747, [2002] EWCA Crim 747


Bailii, Bailii


Obscene Publications Act 1959 2(1)


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Barker CCA 1962
. .
CitedRegina v Clayton and Halsey CCA 1963
Two experienced police officers in plain clothes had entered a bookshop owned by Clayton in which Halsey was his assistant. The officers had each selected a packet of photographs which formed the subject matter of the substantive charges. In . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions v Whyte HL 1972
Lord Wilberforce said: ‘The Obscene Publications Act 1959 adopted the expression ‘deprave and corrupt’ but gave a new turn to it. Previously, though appearing in Cockburn C.J.’s formula, the words had in fact been largely disregarded: the courts . .
CitedRegina v O’Sullivan CACD 1995
. .
CitedThe Sunday Times (No 1) v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Apr-1979
Offence must be ;in accordance with law’
The court considered the meaning of the need for an offence to be ‘in accordance with law.’ The applicants did not argue that the expression prescribed by law required legislation in every case, but contended that legislation was required only where . .
CitedGroppera Radio Ag And Others v Switzerland ECHR 28-Mar-1990
Hudoc No violation of Art. 10; Not necessary to examine Art. 13 . .
CitedMuller And Others v Switzerland ECHR 24-May-1988
The Court considered a complaint that Article 10 had been infringed by the applicant’s conviction of an offence of publishing obscene items, consisting of paintings which were said ‘mostly to offend the sense of sexual propriety of persons of . .
CitedWingrove v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Nov-1996
The applicant had been refused a certification certificate for his video ‘Visions of Ecstasy’ on the basis that it infringed the criminal law of blasphemy. The Court found that the offence was prescribed by law and served the legitimate aim of . .
CitedHandyside v The United Kingdom ECHR 7-Dec-1976
Freedom of Expression is Fundamental to Society
The appellant had published a ‘Little Red Schoolbook’. He was convicted under the 1959 and 1964 Acts on the basis that the book was obscene, it tending to deprave and corrupt its target audience, children. The book claimed that it was intended to . .

Cited by:

CitedSheppard and Another, Regina v CACD 29-Jan-2010
The defendants appealed against their convictions for publishing racially inflammatory material. They skipped bail during the trial, were convicted in their absence, and returned after being refused asylum in the US. The convictions related to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Crime, Human Rights, Media

Updated: 24 July 2022; Ref: scu.170012