House of Commons portcullis
House of Commons
Session 1999-2000
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament
Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill
 
 

 
 
A

B I L L

TO

Reduce the age at which, and to make provision with respect to the circumstances in which, certain sexual acts are lawful; to make it an offence for a person aged 18 or over to engage in sexual activity with or directed towards a person under that age if he is in a position of trust in relation to that person; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-
 

Reduction in age at which certain sexual acts are lawful.     1. - (1) In the Sexual Offences Act 1956-
 
 
    (a) in subsections (1A) and (1C) of section 12 (buggery); and
 
    (b) in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph 16 (indecency between men etc.) of Schedule 2 (punishments etc.),
  for the word "eighteen" there shall be substituted the word "sixteen".
 
      (2) In the Sexual Offences Act 1967-
 
 
    (a) in subsections (1) and (6) of section 1 (amendment of law relating to homosexual acts in private), for the word "eighteen" there shall be substituted the word "sixteen"; and
 
    (b) in section 8 (restriction on prosecutions), for the word "twenty-one" there shall be substituted the word "sixteen".
      (3) In section 13 of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 (homosexual offences)-
 
 
    (a) in subsections (1) and (5)(c), for the word "eighteen"; and
 
    (b) in subsection (8), for the word "18",
  there shall be substituted the word "sixteen".
 
      (4) In paragraphs (1) and (5) of Article 3 of the Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1982 (homosexual acts in private), for the word "18" there shall be substituted the word "17".
 
      (5) Section 145 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (which is superseded by this section) is hereby repealed.
 
Defences available to persons who are under age.     2. - (1) In section 12 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956-
 
 
    (a) in subsection (1), after the words "subsection (1A)" there shall be inserted the words "or (1AA)";
 
    (b) in subsection (1A), after the word "circumstances" there shall be inserted the word "first"; and
 
    (c) after that subsection there shall be inserted the following subsection-
 
    "(1AA) The other circumstances so referred to are that the person is under the age of sixteen and the other person has attained that age."
 
      (2) In section 13 of that Act (indecency between men)-
 
 
    (a) after the words "another man", in the first place where they occur, there shall be inserted the words "otherwise than in the circumstances described below"; and
 
    (b) at the end there shall be inserted the following paragraph-
 
  " The circumstances referred to above are that the man is under the age of sixteen and the other man has attained that age."
 
      (3) In subsection (1) of section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 1967-
 
 
    (a) the words from "a homosexual act" to the end shall become paragraph (a); and
 
    (b) after that paragraph there shall be inserted the words "and
 
    (b) a homosexual act by any person shall not be an offence if he is under the age of sixteen years and the other party has attained that age."
      (4) In section 13 of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995, after subsection (8) there shall be inserted the following subsection-
 
 
    "(8A) A person under the age of sixteen years does not commit an offence under subsection (5)(a) or (c) above if he commits or is party to the commission of a homosexual act with a person who has attained that age."
 
      (5) In paragraph (1) of Article 3 of the Homosexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 1982-
 
 
    (a) the words from "a homosexual act" to the end shall become sub-paragraph (a); and
 
    (b) after that sub-paragraph there shall be inserted the words "and
 
    (b) a homosexual act by any person shall not be an offence if he is under the age of seventeen years and the other party has attained that age."
Abuse of position of trust.     3. - (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3) below, it shall be an offence for a person aged 18 or over-
 
 
    (a) to have sexual intercourse (whether vaginal or anal) with a person under that age; or
 
    (b) to engage in any other sexual activity with or directed towards such a person,
  if (in either case) he is in a position of trust in relation to that person.
 
      (2) Where a person ("A") is charged with an offence under this section of having sexual intercourse with, or engaging in any other sexual activity with or directed towards, another person ("B"), it shall be a defence for A to prove that, at the time of the intercourse or activity-
 
 
    (a) he did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that B was under 18;
 
    (b) he did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that B was a person in relation to whom he was in a position of trust; or
 
    (c) he was lawfully married to B.
      (3) It shall not be an offence under this section for a person ("A") to have sexual intercourse with, or engage in any other sexual activity with or directed towards, another person ("B") if immediately before the commencement of this Act-
 
 
    (a) A was in a position of trust in relation to B; and
 
    (b) a sexual relationship existed between them.
      (4) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable-
 
 
    (a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both;
 
    (b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to a fine, or to both.
      (5) In this section "sexual activity"-
 
 
    (a) does not include any activity which a reasonable person would regard as sexual only with knowledge of the intentions, motives or feelings of the parties; but
 
    (b) subject to that, means any activity which such a person would regard as sexual in all the circumstances.
 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Commons home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 28 January 2000