Nurse Nancy sparks judicial porn review

The British Board of Film Classification is challenging the release of seven hard-core porn movies. Roger Pearson reports.

A test case aimed at curbing the risk of children being exposed to hard-core porn is heading for the High Court.

Leave has been given by Mr Justice Forbes for an urgent challenge to be brought in the High Court by the British Board of Film Classification over seven explicit videos which are heading for distribution in the UK.

The board refused to give the videos, which included titles such as Office Tart, Nympho Nurse Nancy and Horny Catbabe Restricted 18 classification, effectively blocking distribution.

But the board's own appeal committee allowed an appeal against that decision, and it is that decision which is under challenge.

In granting leave for the board to seek judicial review of the appeal committee's finding the judge ruled that the board – which claimed that if such titles found their way into UK homes, there was a real risk they could fall into the hands of children – had an arguable case.

He said he was satisfied the application raised a point of law with regard to the construction of the 1984 Video Recordings Act, as amended by the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

He warned, however, that in finding that they had an arguable case he was not indicating that they would necessarily succeed.

Lord Lester QC, for the board, told the judge that the case was one of "considerable public importance".

He said that even though the videos in question were intended for sale in licensed sex shops, they posed a danger to children once they were in people's homes, as youngsters sometimes had regular access to video players and films.

The judge also certified that in the light of the importance of the issue the case should be heard as soon as possible.