Police have raided a major Melbourne porn business. Detectives raided five premises as part of Operation Refuge, seizing computers containing footage of women allegedly performing hardcore, which is ludicrously illegal to produce in Victoria.
Police raided the Fitzroy head office of G Media - which provides material for the well known abbywinters.com website - and arrested its director, Garion Hall.
It is believed Hall denies any wrongdoing.
Yesterday's raids came after the Herald Sun snitched to police with a dossier of information about the allegedly illegal porn G Media, and companies associated with it.
G Media is believed to receive about $30 a month from 30,000 subscribers to its website, which contains more than 370,000 explicit images and almost 4000 sex videos.
The company specialises in filming female teenage students and backpackers in Melbourne and has explicit photographs and videos of almost 1200 young women on its website, many listed as being aged 18 and 19.
Police have seen a copy of a driver's licence of one G Media nude model, allegedly showing she was 17 when photographed. It is not known if Hall knew of her age.
Hall was later released, but possibly faces charges of making objectionable films for gain, which carries a maximum jail term of two years. Each of G Media's 30 employees could also be charged with the same offence.
Yarra CIU Sen-Det Steven Boskovski said police were likely to make more arrests.
We're still identifying the hierarchy involved, he said. We're very satisfied with the content we've secured.
The director of G Media, Garion Hall, has issued a statement about a police raid on his company this week.
Hall said yesterday morning (Monday 15 June, 2009) Victoria Police acted on a warrant to search the premises of the adult web business AbbyWinters.com. The raid was instigated by a tabloid journalist from the Herald Sun. The journalist has
written about AbbyWinters.com in the past, trying to encourage authorities to act.
Hall said no charges have been laid by the police and that no hardware was seized. Police were supplied with copies of all information that they requested and they (the police) were polite and amiable.
He appreciates the support of Eros, staff, website members and models, and is hopeful of a successful outcome.
Eros Executive Officer, Fiona Patten, told me that Eros fully supports their long term member and their right to provide non-violent erotica.
Comment: Police Wanking Over Abby Winters Raid
25th June 2009. Thanks to Alan
I particularly liked the quote from the plod:
"We're still identifying the hierarchy involved," he said. "We're very satisfied with the content we've secured."
Glad to know the coppers enjoyed their J Arthur over the material they'd grabbed.
Note by the way that the Abby Winters site contains only nude, girl/girl and masturbation material. To my, non-antipodean eyes, the site looks like mildly transgressive erotica - with such stuff as groups of girls exercising nude. The only mildly
disturbing, if not entirely unexpected, feature is that "Abby Winters", a supposed Aussie Suze Randall, doesn't really exist. The site owner is a bloke.
In June 2009 the Victorian police raided offices Abby Winters following a story written by a Herald Sun journalist. The Richmond branch of the Victorian police submitted 8 DVDs to the Classification Board. In July all were passed with X18+
(Explicit Sex) ratings, and none were Refused Classification.
Twenty-seven titles were then submitted by the Yarra branch of the Victorian police. In October all were passed with X18+ (Explicit Sex) ratings. Thirty-five titles in all, and not a single RC rating.
Garion Hall, the boss of AbbyWinters.com, has been charged with 54 counts of producing and possessing supposedly objectionable films.
Hall also was charged on three under age porn counts after police in Victoria raided his business, G Media, in June and seized footage of allegedly illegal sex acts. Computer records and DVDs were among items seized.
The charges relate to sexually explicit DVDs allegedly made by his multimillion-dollar company, G Media.
Previously 35 DVDs have been submitted to the Australian film censors who reported that they would be classified X18+ (for explicit sex, legal to supply in 2 Australian territories but not Victoria)
Two of Hall's former models who appear on the AbbyWinters website as Blaire and Melita accused G Media of exploiting them and other nude models by not warning them it was illegal to profit from making objectionable films in Victoria, according to
Australia's Herald Sun. The women claim G Media used large cash incentives to lure naive women into performing sex acts on camera.
Hall is due to appear in Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Jan. 27 to face 57 charges.
AbbyWinters.com is a paysite that specializes in lesbian and solo erotica of amateur female nude models. The site has about 30,000 subscribers.
Hall, in June, said that the police raids were instigated by a tabloid journalist from the Herald Sun.
abbywinters.com is closing up shop in Australia and relocating to Amsterdam after a legal battle that saw the company plead guilty to two charges of producing and selling DVDs that weren't rated by the classification board.
abbywinters.com is known for producing adult content featuring amateur Australian girls.
In a post on the abbywinters.com message board, company CEO Garion Hall said that instead of fighting a costly, protracted legal battle to set new case law he decided to move to a location where he could continue his operation without the threat
of legal hassles.
We have always believed the law to be gray in this area, and the law had not been properly tested in this regard, Hall said. We could have spent many thousands of dollars in attempting to define the laws but this would have involved
additional time and resources that the company could ill afford, therefore, the company plead guilty to the two charges.
Our [defense attorney] made submissions about the nature of our business, that we are reputable, well managed, have excellent systems and protocols in place, and have been operating openly since our inception 10 years ago. The magistrate
accepted all the submissions made to her by our [attorney].
Hall said that the company stopped shooting in Australia as of May 28, after the resolution of the court case in which the company received a nominal fine. abbywinters.com plans to cease all Australian operations later this month.
Site members can rest comfortably knowing that much of the creative team will be moving with Hall to Amsterdam so the look and feel of the site will remain the same. Two of its shooters, two video editors, management team and back-office staff
will be making the move.
Hall reassures his site's members that even though it's unlikely he will be shooting many Australian girls in Amsterdam—a key element that made the site unique—the site's aesthetic of shooting amateur content remains the same.
In 2007, Herald Sun writer, Keith Moor presented an article about G Media [abbywinters.com] which aimed to blow the whistle on the adult film production corporation. The article utilised such terminology and descriptive phrasing as young women
, naivety of young women , manipulating them to perform explicit sex acts , young impressionable women and immoral and exploitation of the young at its worst .
On 15 June 2009, G Media was raided on alleged claims of a breach of fifty four counts of making objectionable films for gain, one count of possessing a commercial quantity of objectionable films and two charges of possessing child pornography.
Many of the initial charges were dropped. However, Garion Hall (CEO) subsequently plead guilty to charges of possessing a commercial quantity of objectionable films it intended selling or exhibiting and producing an objectionable film
in Victoria .
The issue was raised again in the media during 2009 while a subsequent trial in 2010 saw G Media targeted by two former models, Blaire and Melita . They claimed that the company was exploiting them and other nude models .
When analysing the sentence administered to G Media, the underlying subtext of moral debate is evidentiary. Hall pleaded guilty to charges of production and possession, and was subsequently charged on 28 May 2010. He received a $6000 fine.
The charges were significantly less than the original accusations. However, one can presume that the relatively-insignificant fine was swayed somewhat by Hall's statement of intentions to vacate Victoria (and indeed the country), by moving the
company to Amsterdam.