Edit Amazon / Laithwaites / Tesco sales declared illegal in the UK

… well not quite, however, if the story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4573507.stm is anything to go by, then the Law Lords clearly seem to say they are illegal.

Online sales of Age-Restricted material is thereby completely illegal in the UK.

If sales of R18 porn is illegal via online outlets because the retailer has to see the purchaser in-person to assess the purchasers age: Lord Justice Kay said: "We have no doubt that one of the main reasons for the restriction is to ensure that the customer comes face-to-face with the supplier so that there is an opportunity for the supplier to assess the age of the customer.", then surely there is an onus on companies such as Amazon and SendIt to ensure a face-to-face assessment of the purchasers age prior to purchase.

Also for that matter, in the UK it is illegal to sell alcohol to under 18s, so should the likes of Laithwaites or Tesco withdraw all online alcohol sales because they cannot have a face-to-face meeting?

Back to the specifics of this case, I know it isn’t purely age-related – there is specific law relating to adult/sex material: The relevant law Video Recordings Act, 1984 Section 12 deals with these Restricted R18 rated adult films, so the arguments in the case should come down to "licensed sex shops" and "supply" – the Judges stated age restrictions, intent and face-to-face reasons seem irrelevant to the law at hand.

In particular, I am surprised that if:

(2) It is a defence to a charge of committing an offence under subsection (1) above to prove


(b) that the accused believed on reasonable grounds that the concerned was a sex shop for which a licence was in force under the relevant enactment, or


could a licensed sex shop on "reasonable grounds" believe that the online sale was legal? I would imagine so.

On the face of it – this is an absurd ruling by the law lords and one which should be quickly overturned.   If the judges arguments about age and face-to-face hold true, then by the same nature Section 11 of the law holds true for non-restricted but classified age material 12/15/18 classifications which would apply to the likes of Amazon.

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