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Report No. 109

5.4. Legislative usage.-

As to the first question, legislative precedents do not appear to furnish much guidance. The expression "indecent" does not carry any legislative definition. The expression occurs occasionally in legislative usage, sometimes singly, at other times in conjunction with words like "obscene" or "lewd". But its exact ambit remains undefined. The fact that the word "indecent" has not been defined and different people have different standards, was accepted1 in the debate on the English Act of 1980. The Williams Committee in England thought that the word "indecent" was surrounded with vagueness2 and confusion, as to be useless. In fact, when the Bill leading to the Protection of Children Act, 1978 was debated in England, the vagueness of "indecent" was used as a justification for requiring the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecutions under the Act.3

1. T. Benyon, H.C. Debates, Vol. 997, Col. 1196.

2. Committee on Obscenity & Film Censorship (1979), Cmd. 7772, para. 9.21.

3. R. v. Khuller, 1973 AC 435 (HL).



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