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Outraging public decency.

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Introduction

OUTRAGING PUBLIC DECENCY As a common law misdemeanour, the offence of outraging public decency is triable only on indictment and is punishable with imprisonment fixed for a period at the discretion of the judge. The act must be done in a place where at least two members of the public might see it. It is evident that Jane Horroll urinated in front of over 80 people at the theatre, this would mean that she has committed an act outraging public decency and it is irrelevant that the members of the audience were not outraged by this action. In Lunderbech [1991] the defendant masturbated in a children's playground and was seen by only two police officers who did not testify that they were outraged, the court said that ...read more.

Middle

In Knuller v DPP (1973) the majority of the House of Lords held orbiter, that outraging public decency was a common law offence, examples of which are indecent exposure, acts of sexual indecency in public and mounting an indecent exhibition as the courts decided in Cruden (1809), Gibson (1990) and Mayling (1963). A modern case in which the existence of the offence had previously been recognised by the Court of Criminal Appeal in is Mayling (1963). Any doubt as to the existence of the offence was removed by the decision of the Court of Appeal in 1991 in Gibsons (1990) where the court agreed with the majority of the House of Lords in Knuller. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is not necessary for the prosecution also to prove that the accused had an intention to outrage public decency or that he was subjectly reckless (or indeed, that ha had any mens rea) as to the risk of such an outrage occurring. In other words the offence of outraging public decency is one of strict liability, as was followed in Gibson (1990). With all the facts of this case and the legal principles that have been used for this argument, it is evident that Jane Horroll did in fact commit an act outraging public decency even though the audience did not find this offensive. I would therefore wish that the House of Lords refuse this appeal on the grounds stated. This concludes my submission, My Lord. ...read more.

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