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Knuller v DPP [1973] AC 435 House of Lords


The defendant published a progressive magazine. In this magazine advertisements were placed by homosexuals seeking to meet other like minded individuals to engage in sexual practices. They were charged with conspiracy to corrupt public morals as established in Shaw v DPP. The House of Lords doubted the correctness of the decision in Shaw but declined to depart from it.


Lord Reid:

"I dissented in Shaw’s case ([1961] 2 All ER at 446, [1962] AC 220). On reconsideration I still think that the decision was wrong and I see no reason to alter anything which I said in my speech. But it does not follow that I should now support a motion to reconsider the decision. I have said more than once in recent cases that our change of practice in no longer regarding previous decisions of this House as absolutely binding does not mean that whenever we think that a previous decision was wrong we should reverse it. In the general interest of certainty in the law we must be sure that there is some very good reason before we so act."
 
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