Police have seized over 7000 explicit pornographic films in the second Sydney sex shop raid in a week.
Detectives raided a Parramatta adult book shop on Church Street, seizing about 7000 DVDs and 1000 videos on sale in the store.
A police spokeswoman could not confirm the exact nature of the films, but said they were likely to be X-rated pornography, which is illegal to retail in most Australian states, including NSW, but not in the ACT and Northern Territory.
The films seized in today's raid will now be viewed and classified by the classification board.
Police expect to lay charges against the owners of both stores.
Queensland's Office of Fair Trading has prosecuted two adult shops for selling banned films and magazines.
Attorney-General Kerry Shine said Costa George and Con Ange, the proprietors of Brisbane store Everything Adult, were each fined $5,000.
Merlaway Pty Ltd, proprietor of Naughty but Nice, at Capalaba in Brisbane's east, was fined $2,000 for the sale and display of banned publications and films.
Office of Fair Trading inspectors found the banned items on sale supposedly while responding to consumer complaints, Mr Shine said.
The items were then sent to the Commonwealth Classification Board, which found the DVDs classified as X18+ and RC, Refused Classification, while the magazines were classified as Category 2 Restricted. Items with these classifications are banned
from sale in Queensland.
Shine said the Office of Fair Trading took breaches seriously and would continue to carry out spot checks.
The New South Wales Greens are calling on the State Government to legalise the sale of X-rated material after police raids on
two Sydney adult stores.
Greens MP Lee Rhiannon will move a motion in the upper house tomorrow aimed at clearing up the legal contradiction that condones the use of X-rated material, but not its sale. She said:
It's completely illogical for something to be legal to own, but illegal to sell. Until recently, the ban on selling X-rated non-violent erotica was not enforced. This led to it being made freely available in outlets such as
newsagents and video stores. The outlets now being raided have a right to shake their heads in wonder.
The Government and Opposition should respect public opinion, get behind the motion and properly regulate the industry. I struggle to think of a less productive use of NSW Police's valuable time than having 15 officers spend
an entire day confiscating material that is legal for the public to own.
I will be bringing on a motion for debate in NSW parliament tomorrow, calling on the government to clear up the legal uncertainties around X-rated non-violent erotica.
Sydney Police have become fixated on closing down Sydney's adult shops with increasingly intensive raids. Last
week, two Kings Cross adult shops were raided and 90% of stock was seized. The shops have been closed by police and taped with crime scene tape. All tills and safes were broken open and computers and shop records were all seized. Only lingerie was
left. The raids took 15 police officers an entire day to carry out.
Australian Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said that a Sydney adult shop owner had been sentenced to jail last month for selling federally classified X rated films that had been judged by Commonwealth censors to be suitable for all Australians.
The NSW police have spent millions of dollars this year pursuing adult retailers where this money should have been spent on solving murders and dealing with assault and property crimes , she said: I challenge the Premier, the Police
Commissioner and Independents in the parliament to deny that their religious beliefs are contributing to this moral crusade . She estimated that the NSW Police had spent $2 million on raiding a dozen adult shops in the last 12 months.
She said last week's raids would have cost the taxpayer at least $100,000 and that the police would now have to spend at least another $20,000 getting the films classified. Most of these films will probably end up being classified as X rated
which means they are legal to bring into the country, legal to purchase, legal to possess and legal to sell in the ACT and NT. Just not legal to sell in NSW.
The Labor Party has suspended the president of the New South Wales upper house, Amanda
Fazio, after she voted against a bill empowering easier police prosecution of adult consensual hardcore.
During a debate in Parliament last night, Ms Fazio defied her party by crossing the floor to vote with the Greens. Liberals and Nationals MPs, as well as the Shooters, Family First and Christian Democrats all voted in favour of the bill. The
Greens opposed it.
Under party dictates, MPs must vote along party lines, except if they are allowed a conscience vote.
The bill is designed to boost the powers of police to prosecute those selling X-rated material. Under the Classifications (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment Bill, retailers charged with selling banned adult films face
being asked to choose between admitting the offence or paying hundreds of dollars to have it classified by the Classification Board. The government says the proposal is designed to save money by removing the need for police to send films and other
material for classification before prosecution.
Material rated X18+ or Refused Classification is banned from sale in NSW.
The bill has been criticised by the Greens and Australia's peak adult industry group, the Eros Foundation. They claim it effectively hands censorship powers to the police and may result in unfair pressure on retailers.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said: Under the bill, members of the NSW Police Force effectively are empowered to act as national classifiers. Clearly, members of the police force simply do not have the relevant training to undertake the role of
Police who charge a person with selling films or other material rated X18+ or Refused Classification will be able to ask the seller to sign a notice agreeing that the material would likely be classified that way by the Classification Board.
If the seller refuses and is found guilty, prosecutors can apply for an order that the defendant pay the cost of having the material rated by the Classification Board. The cost to classify a 120-minute DVD is about $700. No classification costs
will be payable if the seller signs and is subsequently found not guilty.
Under the current legislation, police must pay to have a seized film, publication or computer game classified. Once classified, they must apply for an evidentiary certificate before proceeding with a prosecution. The proposed legislation removes
the need to obtain an evidentiary certificate, which can cost up to $1400, of which the police must pay half. Police are entitled to 100 fee-free applications for classification and evidentiary certificates, but the government says they regularly
exceed this quota.
Perth sex shops can continue to sell X-rated DVDs illegally without fear of prosecution.
WA Police has admitted that enforcing the State's movie classification laws on adult pornography is a non-core police activity and a low priority .
The police will investigate the sale of X-rated DVDs only if there is evidence of tangible links to organised crime.
In October last year, Attorney-General Christian Porter confirmed that it was an offence to sell X-rated DVDs under Section 81 of WA's Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1996. Offenders faced a $10,000 fine.
A spokeswoman for Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said police had to prioritise resources to areas of greatest demand and need:
WA Police maintains the view that the Classifications Branch of the Federal Attorney-General's Department is the most appropriate agency to investigate breaches of classification and copyright due to its considerable
knowledge and experience, she said.
Referrals from the Classifications Branch are examined for organised crime involvement. Where there is no link identified, these matters are recorded on WAPol's database and filed for intelligence purposes only. The majority
of other State jurisdictions adopt the same position and maintain that X-Rated adult pornography is essentially a non-core police activity and of low priority for police law enforcement.
Sex shops started selling X-rated DVDs early last year when they decided that the State's 14-year-old movie classification laws contravened their constitutional right to trade interstate. X-rated DVDs can be sold legally in Canberra and the
Northern Territory and were previously available to WA customers by mail order.