What are the offences which can be committed under the Video Recordings Act?

Offences under the Video Recordings Act 1984

The Video Recordings Act establishes certain criminal offences which apply in relation to video works in the United Kingdom.

What are the offences under the Video Recordings Act?

The following are offences under the Video Recordings Act:

  •  Supplying or offering to supply an unclassified video work

  • Possession of an unclassified video work for the purposes of supply

  • Supplying or offering to supply recordings of classified works in breach of the classification

  • Supplying or offering to supply a work otherwise than in a licensed sex shop

  • Supplying or offering to supply a video recording not complying with the Video Recording (labelling) Regulations 1985

  • Supplying or offering to supply a video recording containing a false indication as to classification

Supplying or offering to supply an unclassified work

The criminal offence of supplying or offering to supply an unclassified work is established by Section 9 of the Video Recordings Act and carries with it a maximum penalty on indictment of two years in prison and or an unlimited fine. On summary conviction the maximum prison term will be six months and the maximum fine to be paid will be £20,000.

Are there any situations whereby the offence will not apply?

The offence will not apply to video works which are exempted or the supply of such works is exempted under the Video Recordings Act.

Is there any defence to this offence?

Under Section 9 of the Act there is a defence to this offence that the individual had reasonable grounds to believe one of the following:

  • That the video work or if the video contained more than one work that all the works contained were works which were either exempted or had been provided with a classification under the Act

  • That the supply was a supply that was exempted under the Act

Possession of an unclassified video work for the purposes of supply

The criminal offence of possession of an unclassified video work for the purpose of supply is established by Section 10 of the Video Recordings Act and carries with it a maximum penalty on indictment of two years in prison and or an unlimited fine. On summary conviction the maximum prison term will be six months and the maximum fine to be paid will be £20,000.

Are there any situations whereby the offence will not apply?

The offence will not apply to video works which are exempted or the supply of such works is exempted under the Video Recordings Act.

Is there any defence to this offence?

Under Section 10 of the Act there is a defence to this offence that the individual could prove one of the following:

  • That the accused had reasonable grounds to believe that the video work or if the video contained more than one work that all the works contained were works which were either exempted or had been provided with a classification under the Act

  • That the accused had the video recording in his possession only for a supply which he had reasonable grounds to believe was an exempted supply

  • That the accused did not intend to supply the video recording until it had been provided with a classification

Supplying or offering to supply recordings of classified works in breach of the classification

Under Section 11 of the Act whereby a video recording has been provided with a certain classification meaning that it cannot be supplied to an individual who has reached a certain age an individual will be guilty of a criminal offence whereby he supplied or offers to supply that video recording to an individual under that age.

What is the penalty for this offence?

A person guilty of this offence will be liable to a maximum prison sentence of six months or a fine or both.

Is there any defence available for this criminal offence?

Under Section 11 of the Act there is a defence to this criminal offence in that the individual can prove one of the following:

  • That the accused neither knew nor had reasonable grounds to believe that the classification certificate contained the statement concerned

  • That the accused neither knew nor had reasonable grounds to believe that the person concerned had not attained that age

  • That the accused had reasonable grounds to believe that the supply would have constituted an exempted supply under the Act

Supplying or offering to supply a work otherwise than in a licensed sex shop

Where the classification of a video recording states that it can only be supplied in a licensed sex shop an individual will be guilty of a criminal offence under Section 12 of the Act where he either supplies that work or offers to do so when not in a sex shop.

What is the penalty for this offence?

A person guilty of this offence will be liable to a maximum prison sentence of six months or a fine or both.

Is there any defence?

A person will not be guilty of this offence in one of the following circumstances:

  1. Whereby he neither knew nor had reasonable grounds to believe that the classification contained that statement

  2. Whereby the individual had reasonable grounds to believe that the place concerned was a sex shop and had an appropriate license to that effect

Supplying or offering to supply a video recording not complying with the Video Recording (labelling) Regulations 1985 and Supplying or offering to supply a video recording containing a false indication as to classification

It is a criminal offence under Section 13 of the Act for an individual to supply or attempt to supply a video recording in a case or box not showing the appropriate certificate labeled on the front of the box or under Section 14 of the Act to supply a video recording in a box showing a false classification.

What is the penalty for this offence?

A person guilty of these offences will be liable to a maximum prison sentence of six months or a fine or both

Is there any defence?

Under this section it is a defence for the defendant to show he had reasonable grounds to believe that the supply was an exempted supply or that he neither knew nor had reasonable grounds to believe that the case or box did not satisfy the requirement.