It is an offence to commit an act of gross indecency with or in the presence of any person under the age of sixteen years. 

It is also an offence to incite or procure a person to engage in an act of gross indecency with the accused. 

A person will be guilty of an offence regardless of the act being committed in private or in public. 

Indecency has been defined interpreted by various cases to include:

‘Any act which an ordinary decent person would find shocking, disgusting, or revolting however it needs to have a sexual overtone or nexus. No contact is essential and it has been held that it is a matter for the jury as a question of fact as to what should constituted indecency.’

The maximum penalty for a first offence of gross indecency is three years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for any subsequent offence of gross indecency is five years imprisonment.

The prosecution must prove that:

  • The act was of gross indecency and
  • in the presence of a child or
  • The defendant procured another to commit an act of gross indecency;
  • in the presence of a child.

Case law has held that the prosecution only have to prove that a child was present and it is not necessary to show that the child saw or was aware of the act.

It may be a defence to the charge if you:

  • Have a mental impairment; or
  • Have an identification dispute

Consent is not a defence under this section of the Act.