Lady Chatterley's Lover British obscenity trial
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
When Lady Chatterley's Lover was published in Britain in 1960, the trial of the publishers, Penguin Books, under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959 was a major public event and a test of the new obscenity law. The 1959 act, introduced by Roy Jenkins, had made it possible for publishers to escape conviction if they could show that a work was of literary merit. One of the objections was to the frequent use of the word "fuck" and its derivatives.
Various academic critics, including E. M. Forster, Helen Gardner, Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams, Norman St John-Stevas were called as witnesses, and the verdict, delivered on November 2 1960, was not guilty. This resulted in a far greater degree of freedom for publishing explicit material in the UK. The prosecution was ridiculed for being out of touch with changing social norms when the chief prosecutor, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, asked if it were the kind of book "you would wish your wife or servants to read".