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Neither the clergy nor any of the other experts had been examined on anal sex and it is not clear whether they realised they were implicitly defending it or not.A watershed in British obscenity law had been achieved without any discussion about the illegal sex acts central to the novel.Sue Rabbitt Roff does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
(Those less convinced of Lawrence’s genius begged off – Enid Blyton declared she had never read the book and “my husband said no at once”.) Lead prosecutor Mervyn Griffith-Jones cross-examined only 14 of the 35.
While homosexual anal sex between consenting men was legalised 50 years ago in the UK, the heterosexual equivalent became legal only at the millennium in England and Wales and was highly illegal in 1960.
(The 2001 film Bridget Jones’ Diary celebrated legalisation with a pretty explicit scene between Renée Zellweger and Hugh Grant.) Illegal acts could still potentially use the public good defence, but Hutchinson feared it made the case much harder to win.
When Penguin consulted Hutchinson and Gardiner, the lawyers retreated to reflect.
A trial under the new Obscene Publications Act seemed inevitable.
The issues were, he said, promiscuity and adultery described in words that were “normally obscene”.