Schoolkids OZ

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Schoolkids OZ was issue 28 of the 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 of OZ editors Richard Neville, Felix Dennis, and Jim Anderson, for issue 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 now-notorious Robert Crumb pastiche cartoon of Rupert Bear in an explicitly sexual situation.

The defence lawyer was John Mortimer, the author of the television series Rumpole of the Bailey and many successful stage plays. He was assisted by Geoffrey Robertson, later to become a prominent barrister, author, and occasional broadcaster. Robertson later wrote a play about the trial, which was produced as a television drama by the BBC.

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.

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

The trial was satirized in the BBC comedy series Hippies episode "Disgusting Hippies"


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