Public consultation on Obscene Publications Prosecution Guidance
The CPS has launched a public consultation on a proposed revision of its current Legal Guidance on Obscene Publications.
This guidance assists prosecutors making charging decisions in cases which fall under the Obscene Publications Act 1959.
The Obscene Publications Act makes it a crime to publish material which might ‘deprave or corrupt’ those who are likely to see, read, or hear it.
Publishing can include distributing, selling, lending or giving the material in question, or offering to sell or lend it.
Prosecutors might also consider other offences when dealing with “obscene publications”, for example outraging public decency, possession of an extreme pornographic image, disclosing private sexual images without consent, and offences against the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and Electronic Communications Act 2003.
The guidance is being revised to provide more clarity about what an “obscene publication” might be, and places an increased focus on those who may view this material which may determine whether a criminal offence has been committed.
The CPS is seeking views on the revised guidance from interested parties. The draft revised guidance and consultation questions can be viewed on this website. It can also be downloaded as an Adobe PDF document (approx 152kb).
The consultation will run for 12 weeks from 25 July. The current legal guidance is available in the Prosecution Guidance section of the CPS website.
When complete, it is anticipated that the revised legal guidance will come into effect in late 2018.
How to Respond
It would be helpful if you could give your feedback using our online form (see below) for ease of analysis.
You can also download a response form, complete it, and return it to DLA.Team@cps.gov.uk by midnight on 17 October 2018. Please use the same form if you wish to submit a hard copy of your response to the postal address below.
If you are replying by email, we would be grateful if you would not attach any other documents to the consultation response form document. There are limits on the size of documents that we are able to accept and any completed response form document which has an attachment runs the risk of not being delivered. If you wish to send an attachment to us, or raise any queries that you have on the consultation, these can be submitted separately to the same e-mail address shown above.
We would prefer electronic submissions if possible but, if you would rather submit your feedback in hard copy it can be returned, by the same date, to:
Obscene Publications Consultation
Crown Prosecution Service
102 Petty France
London SW1H 9EA
Please include your name, organisation (if applicable), postal address, telephone number and email address in any response.