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Inventory of the Records of The Body Politic & Pink Triangle Press
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Trial gang, # 49, p 20 File trial49.jpg 164x222
Uneven odds: 31 TBP types vs the Crown
Pre-trial report, # 49, Dec 1978 / Jan 1979


Page 29 / Inventory Series 21
Legal defence

As a medium of expression for unconventional voices, The Body Politic often faced attempts to censor that expression.

In 1973 The Toronto Star refused a classified ad for TBP and later Newsweb Enterprises, a subsidiary of The Star, refused to print the paper (see "Why 8's late," TBP # 8, Spring 1973, p 5). Continued ad refusals -- justified by a defence of its right to prejudice in an Oct 19, 1974 editorial, "Homosexuals: Where The Star draws the line" -- prompted TBP to publish a special 4-page extra headlined "The Star sells hate," included in # 16 (Nov / Dec 1974) and also distributed independently.

In 1975 TBP's 193 Carlton Street office was visited by the police, who threatened to remove Issue 18 (May / Jun 1975) from the stands because of an offending cartoon strip (see "We're gonna close you down," TBP # 19, Jul / Aug 1975, p 1). [1]

But none of these events resulted in criminal charges. Those came on Jan 5, 1978, after a Dec 30, 1977 police raid on TBP's office following publication in Issue 39 of "Men loving boys loving men", an article by Gerald Hannon. This case -- and another based on charges arising from publication of "Lust with a very proper stranger," an Apr 1982 article on fistfucking -- kept The Body Politic in court for almost six years.

The endless details of both cases are reported at length in TBP issues of the period (and in other media: Feb 1979 coverage in The Toronto Star led to a short-lived libel suit). [2] In TBP's May 1982 issue, the many stages to date of the "Men loving boys loving men" case -- then about to go to trial for a second time -- were even turned into a board game.

In early 1978 the collective set up The Body Politic Free the Press Fund to raise both public awareness and money in defence of its right to publish. Initial Fund directors were Chris Bearchell, Tim Guest, Heather Ramsay, Gordon Montador, Lorna Weir, David Mole, Pat Leslie, Bob Brosius, Naomi Brooks and Tim McCaskell (only Chris Bearchell and Tim McCaskell were members of the collective).

Later Fund volunteers included Joan Anderson, Richard Fung, Brian Mossop, Keith Sly, Elan Rosenquist, Dan Jellis, Stephen MacDonald, Bill Loos and David Rayside, who served as treasurer from 1979.

Money raised by the Fund was held in trust by lawyer Lynn King, of the firm Cornish, King, Sachs and Waldman, and could not be tapped by TBP to cover operating expenses. The Press's legal defence was conducted by well- known lawyer Clayton Ruby, of the firm Ruby and Edwardh. Of the more than $100,000 in legal bills eventually incurred, less than $3,000 came out of the Press's operating budget. The rest was raised by the Fund.

Fund ads, produced in-house at TBP, ran not only in The Body Politic (see page 2 of many issues from Nov 1978) but in many other progressive media. On Feb 6, 1980 the Fund also ran a nearly full- page ad in The Globe and Mail, signed by more than 800 people urging the attorney- general to drop his appeal of the Press's Feb 14, 1979 acquittal in the first "Men loving boys loving men" trial. The ad had cost more than $9,000, donated by the signatories themselves. (See "Outreach to Thousands," TBP # 61, Mar 1980, pp 20-21.)

Material seized by the police in the Dec 30, 1977 raid was returned (after much legal wrangling) in two lots. Part of the first, which came back in 1979, is in Box 27 of Accession 82-019. The second, returned on Apr 15, 1985, makes up boxes 01 through 05 of Accession 85-008. The handwritten notes on the boxes in 85-008, listing contents, were made by the police.

Many of the photocopies of financial records from before Dec 1977 that appear in Series 2 were made by Gerald Hannon -- with the permission of the police but at our cost -- at the Ontario Provincial Police building where the material was held.

Two chronologies covering these cases were included in websites now accessible here as part of Kid-sex hooker prof scandal! The Gerald Hannon Affair, 1995-1996:

83-010 / 04
General files on The Body Politic raid, trials and appeals, 1977-1982.

82-019 / 11
The Body Politic Free the Press Fund. General files, 1978-1982. (Includes Jan 1979 media kit and material on the Globe and Mail ad campaign.)

83-010 / 05
The Body Politic Free the Press Fund. General files, 1978-1982.

82-019 / 13
"Regina vs Kenneth David Popert, Edward Arthur Jackson, Gerald Campbell Hannon and Pink Triangle Press" (transcript in three volumes of the Jan 1979 trial); and judgment of His Honour Sydney M. Harris, 14 Feb 1979. [3]

82-002 / 03
Files on TBP libel actions against Global TV and The Toronto Star (later abandoned), 1979.

82-002 / 01
Appeal Book, 1980 (application by PTP for return of materials seized in the 30 Dec 1977 raid, including a full list of those materials).

Not listed (or listed incorrectly) in the 1988 Inventory
82-032 (one cassette)
Fourth-generation colour video cassette entitled"On Trial -- The Body Politic." 1979. 52 minutes.

86-003 / 02
The Body Politic Free the Press Fund. General files, 1978-1983. (Includes: minutes (partial, to Jul 1981); donor records; correspondence and expressions of support; Fund ads in other publications; press releases and media kits; files on expert witnesses for the Nov 1982 "fisting" trial; and Update, a 4-page tabloid published by the Fund in May 1980.)

86-003 / 03
The Body Politic Free the Press Fund. General files, 1979-1983. (Includes: files on expert witnesses for the 1979 and 1982 "Men loving boys loving men" trials; financial statements, Jan 1978 - May 1984; and records of payments to the firm of Ruby and Edwardh, 1978-1983.)

86-003 / 04
The Body Politic Free the Press Fund. Appeal Book, 1980. (See Accession 82-002 / 01; this accession includes in addition two volumes of authorities cited in the materials- return case.)

88-029 (drawing)
Sketch by Elizabeth Gibson of the defendants in The Body Politic trial, 1979.

David Rayside (personal accession). Records of The Body Politic Free the Press Fund.

  1. The cover of Issue 19 carried a panel from the cartoon, Rand Holmes's "Harold Hedd." The blowjob depicted in the original was covered by a black lightning bolt labelled "Toronto Morality Squad." But this censoring zap, overprinted on the illustration, could be seen through. The collective had to order a second print run (see it pictured in the Introduction). Copies of both cover versions are available in the Archives.
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  2. See "Verdict: Not guilty!" and "TBP launches libel action against the Toronto Star," TBP # 51 (Mar / Apr 1979), pp 8-10; 12.
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  3. Harris's Feb 14, 1979 judgment (an acquittal later appealed) is also available in David Copp and Susan Wendell (eds): Pornography and Censorship. Prometheus Books, 1983, pp 385-407 (James Fraser Library call number: 4.73 POR); and in Canadian Criminal Cases, Canada Law Books Ltd, Vol. 45, pp 385-411.
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