In June 2009 the officers of Australian sex positive adult company Abby Winters was raided by police. In January 2010 Garion Hall was charged with “producing an objectionable film” and also 2 counts of child porn.
The case has finally gone to court and G Media, the company that runs Abby Winters, has been fined $6000 after Hall pleaded guilty to the objectionable film charge. The CP charges were dropped, unsurprisingly. The verdict seems to have been the result of a deal between prosecutors and Hall. It’s possible that the police couldn’t get most of the charges to stand and wanted the whole thing to be over and out of the way. I’m sure the politicans wanted it this way too.
Looking at the broader picture, the end result is very disappointing. This was supposed to be a test case to see if the nonsense law of “making an objectionable film” could even stand up to scrutiny. “Objectionable” is defined in Victorian law as something that is offensive to a reasonable adult. Ideally the court should have tested this supposition by asking if Abby Winter’s films were too shocking for the average joe to deal with.
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That didn’t happen. Indeed, the Magistrate declined to even watch the films.
Got that folks? The Victorian legal system has declared that someone had made an objectionable film without even viewing that film.
The Magistrate didn’t even get someone to do the dirty work for her. No “experts” in the form of Australian Classification Board officials were called in to discuss the nature of the films. Instead, we have the first ever prosecution of this criminal law without any decent kind of legal test.
I don’t blame Garion Hall for wanting to just pay a fine and bog off to the US to make his films. Why fuck around with such nonsense laws? And yet it feels like a wasted opportunity to really show just how out of touch our country’s censorship laws are.
It’s also a great big slap in the face for freedom of speech in this country. Rest assured, you can’t make films with explicit sex in Victoria, even if that state has recently put new human rights protection laws onto the book. Seems that the courts won’t bother to consider the craptabulous question of whether it’s “art” or “porn”. You’ll just be fined and told to go elsewhere because Victoria doesn’t stand for that sort of thing. Cue the pearl clutching.
If you’re Australian and you’re shaking your head at this please consider voting for the Australian Sex Party in the senate at the next election. It’s our best chance to get laws like these off the books.