Schoolkids Oz

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Oz No.28: the Schoolkids Issue

Schoolkids Oz was No.28 of Oz magazine, famous for being the subject of a high-profile obscenity case in the United Kingdom in June 1971. The Oz trial ended on 5 August 1971.[1]

The trial[edit]

The trial of Oz editors Richard Neville, Felix Dennis, and Jim Anderson, for No.28, Schoolkids Oz, was conducted at the Old Bailey, under the auspices of Judge Michael Argyle. It was the longest trial under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act. Of particular significance is the adaptation by Vivian Berger of a Robert Crumb cartoon to include the Rupert Bear cartoon character in an explicitly sexual situation.

The defence lawyer was John Mortimer, QC, later the writer of the Rumpole of the Bailey television series. He was assisted by junior counsel Geoffrey Robertson, later to become a prominent barrister in his own right.

Oz No.33, back cover advertising "A Gala Benefit For The OZ Obscenity Trial"

The defendants were found guilty and sentenced to up to 15 months imprisonment. This was later quashed on appeal by the lord chief justice Lord Widgery. It was alleged by Geoffrey Robertson that Widgery sent his clerk to Soho one lunchtime to buy £20 worth of the hardest porn he could find. The contents of even the Schoolkids issue of Oz paled in comparison.

Reactions[edit]

In her "Oz Trial Post-Mortem", which was not published until it was included in The Madwoman’s Underclothes (1986), the magazine's contributor Germaine Greer made the following points:

"Before repressive tolerance became a tactic of the past, Oz could fool itself and its readers that, for some people at least, the alternative society already existed. Instead of developing a political analysis of the state we live in, instead of undertaking the patient and unsparing job of education which must precede even a pre-revolutionary situation, Oz behaved as though the revolution had already happened."

Geoffrey Robertson later adapted the transcripts of the trial into the television drama The Trials of Oz (1991).

References[edit]

  1. ^ See The Times, London, diary of year [31 December 1971]; and ITN Source for citations

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Murray, Charles Shaar (2 August 2001). "I was an Oz schoolkid". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 3 September 2009.