Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Corrupting Morals Definition:

The publication of obscene material that corrupts public morals.

Related Terms: Obscenity, Fuck

A statutory offence (e.g. in the jurisdiction of Canada) ostensibly protecting society against the corruption or depravation by the publication of obscene material, especially material that glorifies the commission of criminal conduct.

Includes, but is not necessarily limited to the exhibition of an obscene or  disgusting object.

What might or might not be corrupting morals is a moving target as society changes. For example, in one British case in 1972, a publisher was convicted of corrupting morals because he had published a dating service for gay men.1

From about 2006, a Quebec resident Remy Couture produced and published materials created using special effects that depicted horrific murders, torture, sexual abuse and even necrophilia and all on young female victims. In 2012, Couture was charged, tried and acquitted by a jury of the charge of corrupting morals.

In 2013, the owner of a website called "BestGore" was charged when he posted a video which showed the actual murder of a victim.

The term "corrupting morals" can be found in the title of §163 of Canada's Criminal Code (2013) as follows:

Offences Tending to Corrupt Morals Corrupting morals

Every one commits an offence who (a) makes, prints, publishes, distributes, circulates, or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation any obscene written matter, picture, model, phonograph record or other thing whatever; or (b) makes, prints, publishes, distributes, sells or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circulation a crime comic.

(2) Every one commits an offence who knowingly, without lawful justification or excuse, (a) sells, exposes to public view or has in his possession for such a purpose any obscene written matter, picture, model, phonograph record or other thing whatever; (b) publicly exhibits a disgusting object or an indecent show; (c) offers to sell, advertises or publishes an advertisement of, or has for sale or disposal, any means, instructions, medicine, drug or article intended or represented as a method of causing abortion or miscarriage; or (d) advertises or publishes an advertisement of any means, instructions, medicine, drug or article intended or represented as a method for restoring sexual virility or curing venereal diseases or diseases of the generative organs.

No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section if the public good was served by the acts that are alleged to constitute the offence and if the acts alleged did not extend beyond what served the public good....

For the purposes of this section, the motives of an accused are irrelevant....

(A)ny publication a dominant characteristic of which is the undue exploitation of sex, or of sex and any one or more of the following subjects, namely, crime, horror, cruelty and violence, shall be deemed to be obscene.

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