Pornography and Censorship

By David Copp; Susan Wendell | Go to book overview

Regina v. Hicklin

The Queen on the Prosecution of Henry Scott, appellant v. Benjamin Hicklin and another, Justices of Wolverhampton, respondents Court of Queen's Bench ( 1868) LR 3 QB 360

[Editorss' Note: Henry Scott was a member of the Protestant Electo al Union. Acting under the authority of the Obscene Publications Act 1817, police seized from his premises copies of a pamphlet entitled The Confessional Unmasked; shewing the depravity of the Romanish priesthood, the iniquity of the Confessional and the questions put to females in confession. The magistrates, one of whom was Hicklin, found the pamphlet obscene and ordered the copies destroyed. Scott appealed to Quarter Sessions, and the recorder found in his favor; but the Court of Queen's Bench reversed the judgement of the recorder, holding that the magistrates had been correct. This case is famous for the enunciation, by the Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, of the criterion of obscenity known as the "deprave and corrupt" test. The following is an excerpt from the report.]

COCKBURN, C. J.

This was a proceeding under 20 & 21 Vict. c. 83, s. 1, whereby it is provided that, in respect of obscene books, &c., kept to be sold or distributed,

Reprinted by permission of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales.

-325-

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