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All Charges Dismissed

15 months after the police raid on Linden Gallery Magistrate Amanda Chambers dismissed all charges and ordered the police to pay costs. She was also critical of the police handling of the search warrant where they excised with a Stanley knife parts of Paul Yore’s installation.

Over those 15 months Paul Yore has continued to exhibit, except when his installation was removed from Sydney Contemporary 2013. He is currently exhibiting in Primavera 2014: Young Australian Artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney.

Paul Yore made a statement through his lawyer; ”Paul is glad to see the end of what has been a long and drawn out process. He would like to extend his heartfelt thanks to the legal team, namely Marita Altman, Neil Clelland QC and Rowena Orr. He is especially grateful for all of the support from his friends and family and the broader arts community, especially Juan Davila, Max Delany, Antonia Syme, Dr Juliette Peers, Callum Morton, Mikala Dwyer, Geoff Newton, Jason Smith and Jacob Oberman.”

The months of police investigation failed to look into the Australian Classification Board’s ruling on the installation. It was this ruling, that prosecution presented in its own evidence, that the exhibition was classified ‘Restricted’ that decided the case.

From the police’s perspective, what else could they do? They had a report of child pornography and they had a duty to investigate; a police officer who was an expert in art crime would have helped the investigation. However, using an artist’s career for purposes of clarification of a law is not an innocent activity and the police were not the only people involved. This case went past by multiple magistrates who should have asked questions rather than simply rubber stamp procedures.

The police clearly violated Paul Yore’s moral right for the integrity of his art by removing portions of it without his consent. When Detective Senior Constable Samantha Johnson of St. Kilda police was asked under cross examination by defence barrister Neil Clelland QC: “Who authorised you to remove the parts with a Stanley knife?”

Contable Johnson  replied; ’The Magistrate’

“Did you inform them on how you would remove the images?”

‘No.’

I do not expect that anything will be learnt by the police from this experience.

There have been many articles, and I’ve contributed my fair share, media spots and even a play, Wank created by James Hogan et. al. at The Bloomshed in April 2014, about the case. However, none of the most important question has been answered either by the court or in any of the articles: why was Paul Yore charged in the first place?

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

5 responses to “All Charges Dismissed

  • Alex Malejewicz

    “..multiple magistrates who should have asked questions rather than rubber stamp procedures”
    Some of these procedures could have been unlawful. Since when is our justice system allowing artwork to be damaged and with a Stanley knife in public? Would the same magistrate who authorised this destruction of Mr Yore’s art have authorised Marina Abramovich’s art be destroyed in the same manner?

    • Mark Holsworth

      One point of clarification the Victoria police are not so arrogant as to damage art with a Stanley knife. They did with the gallery closed. The magistrate who gave the search warrant did not authorise the destruction but neither did the magistrate bother to enquire how the police were going to do it. Victoria police have used the excuse: “They adopted extreme pacifist tactics so we had to use our batons against them” and got away with it, so I wouldn’t put anything past them.

  • Paul Yore @ Neon Parc | Black Mark

    […] out parts of Yore’s installation, Everything is Fucked, at Linden Centre for Contemporary Art. In 2014 the prosecution was ordered to pay all his legal costs. There is a pile of redundant “Free Paul” t-shirts on […]

  • Paul Yore artist talk | Black Mark

    […] the court case in 2014 Yore went travelling across Europe looking at a lot of folk art, outsider art and junk yard art. On […]

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