Darker loses VRA appeal, but fights on…

Posted: August 4, 2010

Darker Enterprises has lost its appeal against a 2004 conviction under the ‘unenforceable’ Video Recordings Act 1984, but it has vowed to continue the fight.

The appeal was heard in the Royal Courts of Justice, London, on 29th June, before Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Mr Justice David Clarke and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, alongside another case involving two men who were prosecuted in 2008 for selling unclassified DVDs.

The appellants argued that the court should grant leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the convictions out of time but the High Court dismissed the appeal stating that where defendants had been convicted of criminal offences under national legislation which was unenforceable – because the UK government had failed to comply with EU procedures when introducing the 1984 Act – it was not incumbent upon the Court of Appeal to re-open their cases out of time unless their convictions had given rise to any “substantial injustice”.

After it emerged last year that the Video Recordings Act 1984 was unenforceable due to a procedural technicality, the government re-enacted it in identical terms under the Video Recordings Act 2010 – and this time it did follow correct EU procedure.

A Darker Enterprises spokesperson told ETO that the next stage in its appeal will be the formulation of a question to go before the Supreme Court – the new name for the House of Lords – and if this too proves unsuccessful it will then look to appeal directly to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasburg.