By 3 News staff
Hooded sweatshirts printed with offensive images banned by the chief censor in 2008 have been found on sale at an Invercargill shop.
The Impuls'd store in south Invercargill has been selling the clothes, which owner Warren Skill says have been very popular. He isn't planning to take the hoodies off the shelves, and believes people should be able to wear what they like.
The clothes promote UK black metal group Cradle of Filth, featuring a sexually explicit image of a nun and use blasphemous language to describe Jesus.
But the chief censor's office says the image was banned in New Zealand in 2008, and has confirmed that the office's ruling still stands.
Bill Hastings, the former chief censor, inspected a similar t-shirt in July 2008 following complaints by members of the public. At the time he said the print was the most offensive image he'd ever seen.
"It fuses religion with the most aggressive, misogynistic word in the English language with sexual activity depicted on the front that implies even celibate women cannot resist sex," he said.
He also noted the use of Satanic imagery and the lewd and inflammatory content. The t-shirt was deemed to be "injurious to the public good" and capable of inciting religious hatred.
The ban makes it illegal to sell or own clothing with the offensive images printed on it.
Penalties for a company or business knowingly supplying the "objectionable publication" include a fine of up to $200,000 or a prison term of up to ten years. Individuals knowingly possessing the banned image can face a fine of up to $50,000 or a prison term of up to 5 years. Individuals who aren't aware that the image has been deemed objectionable can still be fined up to $2,000 .
In the past, teenagers in the UK and Australia have also been charged with offensive behaviour and under anti-hate laws for wearing the shirts in public.
The Office of Film and Literature Classification says it is not actively involved in inspection or prosecution, but 3 News understands the Department of Internal Affairs and police are now involved.
Mr Skill from Impuls'd in Invercargill wouldn't name his supplier, but it's possible similar clothes could be on sale at other stores around the country.
In 2008, an Australian teenager was charged with offensive behaviour for wearing a Cradle of Filth t-shirt, as was a British teenager in 2005.
Also in Britain, a 35-year-old man was convicted of "religiously aggravated offensive conduct" in 2004, and his t-shirt was ordered destroyed.
source: newshub archive