Trials of Oz

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The trails of OZ
* Three editors of a magazine (OZ) were charged on three counts: conspiracy to corrupt public morals, an obscene article, and an indecent object sent through the post. * The edition of the magazine was not a great edition of the magazine. It had descriptions of oral sex and an offensive ‘Rupert the bear’ cartoon strip. * The judge was Michael Argyle Q.C.; who would impose heavy sentences ‘if the jury convicted.’ * The jury was drawn from a particular social group (People who owned property); thus none were pre-disposed to the type of journal OZ was. * The prosecution had the magazine as its only exhibit and the court was told that it was ‘unacceptable from a family point of view’. * Dr. Edward De Bono is a better defense witness, as he isn’t intimidated and clever as was Dr. Michael Schofield. The trial goes for sic weeks in the summer of 1971 and the courtroom made for great theater. * The judge was not particularly in favor of the more sexual aspects of the trial and has trouble in coming to terms with slang such as ‘sucking’, ‘blowing’, ‘going down’ and ‘yodeling in the canyon’. * Robertson goes on to the point out the conservative nature of Judge Argyle including how he has a glass destroyed because a man who once had a venereal disease drank from it. Robertson tells how the case ‘became a collision of cultural incomprehension’ and caused division even among the press. Tension was also increased because of the ritual and formality of the Old Baily Court. * The ritual disguised much theatre behind the scenes in a criminal trial here everything else rehearsed to some extent and perjury was rife. Also the judge was required to take the evidence down in longhand and this made him very important. In this particular case Judge Argyle showed some bias towards witnesses including Ronald Dworkin, an Oxford professor and also Marty Feldman, the comedian, who didn’t take the oath and failed to impress the judge. *...
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