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Response to High Court Decision Re “Irreversible”

Media Release 1 September 2004

President of Board’s Response to High Court Decision Re “Irreversible”

In response to the High Court judgment made by A D MacKenzie J dated 27 August 2004, the president of the Film and Literature Board of Review, Ms Claudia Esther Elliott (the first defendant) issued a third decision dated 30 August 2004, relating to the interim restriction order sought by the Society with respect to the film "Irreversible". Her decision delays the matter of resolving the application for an order yet further, by seeking submissions from the three parties to the High Court judicial review, with a deadline for submissions set at noon Wednesday 1 September 2004. The Society has communicated to the president its strong objections, through its solicitor, to the delaying tactics she has employed, and pointed out that there is no legal basis for her seeking yet further submissions from the parties. To see the president's decision and our solicitor's letter see Appendix below.


IN THE MATTER of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993


IN THE MATTER of an application under Section 49 of the Act by the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards Inc. of the film "Irreversible"





[1] An application has been made Pursuant to S49 of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (hereinafter called "the Act") in respect to the publication "Irreversible" by the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards Inc (hereinafter called "the Society").

[2] Application was made by the Society for an interim restriction order in respect to the publication prior to the review of the film by the Film and Literature Board of Review (hereinafter called "the Board"). The date for review by the Board is 21 October 2004.

[3] A decision was made by the President in respect to the interim restriction order by way of decision dated 17 August 2004.

[4] That decision has been reviewed by the High Court.

[5] By way of decision of Mackenzie J, dated 27 August 2004 the matter is returned to the President for reconsideration on two issues

[6] The matter has been returned for reconsideration of the following:

"Whether there was an arguable (or obvious) error (whereof law or otherwise) in the decision of the OFLC," and The threshold test in making an interim restriction order [7] Submissions are to be succinct and relevant to the two issues for reconsideration only.


[8] In the interests of fairness I direct that the Society and the Office of the Film and Literature Classification (hereinafter called "the Classification Office") and the distributor may make submissions to me in respect to the reconsideration by 12 noon on Wednesday 1 September 2004

Dated at Rotorua this 30th day of August 2004

Claudia Elliott

President, Film and Literature Board of Review

1 September 2004

Owen Davie Secretary Film & Literature Board of Review PO Box 805 WELLINGTON

Dear Mr Davie


As you know we act for SPCS. We note that the President has invited submissions from all parties in relation to those matters that she has been directed to reconsider pursuant to the High Court Judgment dated 26 August 2004.

With respect it is inappropriate for any further submissions. The High Court has directed the President specifically and she must now deal with the matter having regard to the directions from the High Court.

The direction from the High Court for the President to reconsider the matter should not open up an opportunity for further submissions from the parties. Our client made full submissions when this matter was first considered and the President should now reconsider the matter as directed taking into account submissions already made. This is not a rehearing – it is specifically a reconsideration by the President as directed by the High Court which in our view she must do urgently based on existing material.

Yours faithfully BRYSON & CO

John Bryson Principal


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