Review of the Law of Indecency and Nudity 1999


The current relevant sections of the Criminal Code are sections 173 and 174. They state as follows:


(1)  Every one who wilfully does an indecent act
(a)  in a public place in the presence of one or more persons, or
(b)  in any place, with intent thereby to insult or offend any person, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(2)  Every person who, in any place, for a sexual purpose, exposes his or her genital organs to a person who is under the age of fourteen years is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.


(1)  Every one who, without lawful excuse,
  • (a)  is nude in a public place, or
  • (b)  is nude and exposed to public view while on private property, whether or not the property is his own, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(2)  For purposes of this section, a person is nude who is so clad as to offend against public decency or order.

(3)  No proceedings shall be commenced under this section without the consent of the Attorney General.

Other offences in the Criminal Code that contain the concept of indecency are:
  • Section 163(2)(b)  [publicly exhibiting an indecent show]
  • Section 167  [indecent theatrical performance]
  • Section 168  [mailing indecent matter]
  • Section 175(1)(b)  [causing disturbance by indecent exhibition]
  • Section 197  [definition of common bawdy house includes a place resorted to for the practice of acts of indecency].
The development of the law relating to indecency involves all of the above sections. The criteria used by the courts to determine indecency are applicable to any section where the concept of indecency is involved.

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