HomeRegina v. Hicklin L.R.3 Q.B. 360

Facts:

The appellant had kept and was selling pamphlets which exposed certain bad practices of the Church and what type of questions are raised to women during confession. The pamphlet is alleged to have obscene ideas and words. The appellant holds that the purpose was to bring out certain practices of the Church which need change and not to promote obscenity.

Issue:

To determine the test of obscenity.

Analysis:

The Court first analyses the intention of the appellant, whether it was bona fide or not. It is then that Judge Cockburn lays down the test for obscenity as “whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences.” The pamphlet according to the according had the tendency to bring impure thoughts into the minds of the youth. Thus, even if the appellant had a justifiable motive behind the publishing of these works, publishing the work would be illegal as it is held to be obscene. The Court points out that to accomplish something good, it has to be done in a lawful manner.

Conclusion:

The pamphlets were held to be obscene and the act of the appellant was against the law.

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