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Tara Carr

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, July 2) – Police are investigating a complaint that pornographic magazines are being sold at a Rarotonga shop and displayed for public viewing with no restrictions.

Acting police commissioner Maara Tetava confirms that a complaint was lodged with police on 23 June, concerning the sale of adult-rated magazines.

The complaint was lodged by lawyer Paul Lynch who had come across the magazines at a store in Rarotonga. He says the magazines were on display within sight of any child or young person entering the store.

According to the Crimes Act 1969, Section 138 it is a crime to sell indecent documents, to send indecent documents through the post and to exhibit indecent documents to any person in consideration or expectation of any payment in the Cook Islands.

Under section 2 of the Crimes Act an indecent document, "means any book, newspaper, picture, photograph, print or writing and any paper or other thing," that shows or prints, "any indecent word, statement of significant sign or any indecent picture, illustration or representation."

Magazines being investigated are FHM (For Him Magazine), Maxim and Loaded.

The shop manager says she has taken into consideration the complaint laid and is now reviewing the sale of the magazines at the shop.

Cook Islands chief censor Alfred Morris could not comment of what has been described as "pornographic magazines" by Lynch, as he has not seen the magazines.

Under the films and censorship act 1985, films imported into the Cook Islands must be censored. However, the act also requires that the country's censor must also check publications, magazines and posters.

The act states that indecent includes, "describing, depicting, expressing or otherwise dealing with matters of sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in a manner that is injurious to the public good".

Under the Customs Act 1913, it is prohibited to import any good specified in the first schedule of the act.

The act includes, "all indecent documents within the meaning of the Indecent Publication Act 1910 and all other indecent or obscene articles."

The Indecent Publication Act 1910 is a New Zealand Act that applies to the Cook Islands.

"We will take action where action is required. There are clear laws against importing indecent materials into the country and we will not hesitate to prosecute people who are caught or who are apprehended doing so," says Tetava.

He says that while the complaint by Lynch deals solely with one shop, police will be looking at other businesses that may be involved in the alleged crime of importing, exhibiting and selling of indecent documents.

July 13, 2005

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