Section 578C Crimes Act | Publishing Indecent Articles

The Legislation

Section 578C of the Crimes Act is the offence of Publishing Indecent Articles and is extracted below.

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578C Publishing indecent articles

(1) In this section:“article” includes any thing:
(a) that contains or embodies matter to be read or looked at, or
(b) that is to be looked at, or
(c) that is a record, or
(d) that can be used, either alone or as one of a set, for the production or manufacture of any thing referred to in paragraphs (a), (b) or (c),
but it does not include:
(e) any film that is classified (other than as RC or X 18+) under the Commonwealth Act, or
(f) any publication that is classified Unrestricted, Category 1 restricted or Category 2 restricted under the Commonwealth Act, or
(g) any computer game that is classified (other than as RC) under the Commonwealth Act, or
(h) any film, publication or computer game that is the subject of an exemption under Division 3 of Part 6 of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995.
“Commonwealth Act” means the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 of the Commonwealth.“computer game”, “film” and “publication” each have the same meanings, respectively, as in the Commonwealth Act.“publish” includes:
(a) distribute, disseminate, circulate, deliver, exhibit, lend for gain, exchange, barter, sell, offer for sale, let on hire or offer to let on hire, or
(b) have in possession or custody, or under control, for the purpose of doing an act referred to in paragraph (a), or
(c) print, photograph or make in any other manner (whether of the same or of a different kind or nature) for the purpose of doing such an act.
“record” means a gramophone record or a wire or tape, or a film, and any other thing of the same or of a different kind or nature, on which is recorded a sound or picture and from which, with the aid of a suitable apparatus, the sound or picture can be produced (whether or not it is in a distorted or altered form).

(2) A person who publishes an indecent article is guilty of an offence. Maximum penalty: in the case of an individual–100 penalty units or imprisonment for 12 months (or both), and in the case of a corporation–200 penalty units.

(2A)-(2C) (Repealed)

(3) Nothing in this section makes it an offence for:
(a) a person to publish an indecent article for the purposes of an application for classification under the Commonwealth Act,
(b) for any member or officer of a law enforcement agency (within the meaning of the Criminal Records Act 1991) to publish an indecent article in the exercise or performance of a power, function or duty conferred or imposed on the member or officer by or under any Act or law.

(3A) A person cannot be convicted of an offence against this section and section 91H in respect of the same matter.

(4) For the purposes of this section, an article may be indecent even though part of it is not indecent.

(5) Proceedings for an offence under subsection (2) are to be dealt with summarily before the Local Court.

(5A) (Repealed)

(6) In any proceedings for an offence under this section in which indecency is in issue, the opinion of an expert as to whether or not an article has any merit in the field of literature, art, medicine or science (and if so, the nature and extent of that merit) is admissible as evidence.

(7) If a corporation contravenes, whether by act or omission, another provision of this section, each person who is a director of the corporation or who is concerned in the management of the corporation is taken to have contravened the provision if the person knowingly authorised or permitted the contravention.

(8) A person may be proceeded against and convicted under a provision pursuant to subsection (7) whether or not the corporation has been proceeded against or been convicted under that provision.

(9) Nothing in subsection (7) or (8) affects any liability imposed on a corporation for an offence committed by the corporation under a provision of this section.