Decency team up to its ears in porn law | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 1, 2015
  • Updated: 8:49pm

Decency team up to its ears in porn law

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 February, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 February, 1996, 12:00am
 

OBSCENE Articles Tribunal adjudicators say they have become bogged down by complex new porn laws, which have slowed their work rate by 34 per cent.


The number of cases handled by the tribunal, whose rulings have been accused in the past of putting Hong Kong in danger of being 'the laughing stock of the world', dropped by that percentage last year.


Compared to the 12,460 cases handled in 1994, the drop of 4,301 to 8,159 last year showed new porn laws had slowed the process. Another court was desperately needed, said adjudicator Mervyn Cheung Man-ping.


'The new legislation means we have to make a time-consuming, detailed record of all the classifications. This makes the process slower.


'And now we need four members to sit on the tribunal when it's a review case; previously it was only three,' he said.


The drop in the number of cases handled 'doesn't mean we have less work to do', he said.


'There are over 4,000 video tapes where classification has been left incomplete. We couldn't look at them last year because of our workload.


'We have come to a point where a second tribunal is definitely needed,' he said.


Legislation was passed in July to increase the number of adjudicators on the panel but, despite a recruitment drive in the summer, no new members had been appointed.


A tribunal spokesman, however, said there was no hurry to appoint new members as current ones could cope with the caseload. In any event, the appointments were expected soon.


An extra court and magistrate was on the cards, she said, but no one has been chosen for the post, and no deadline has been put on the appointment.


The tribunal has come under a barrage of criticism in the past year, sparked by a ruling which found an Elisabeth Frink nude sculpture indecent.


In August, a High Court judge accused the tribunal of wasting public money by making such unreasonable decisions they were wrong in law.


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