Summary Offences Act 1981

4 Offensive behaviour or language
  • (1) Every person is liable to a fine not exceeding $1,000 who,—

    • (a) in or within view of any public place, behaves in an offensive or disorderly manner; or

    • (b) in any public place, addresses any words to any person intending to threaten, alarm, insult, or offend that person; or

    • (c) in or within hearing of a public place,—

      • (i) uses any threatening or insulting words and is reckless whether any person is alarmed or insulted by those words; or

      • (ii) addresses any indecent or obscene words to any person.

    (2) Every person is liable to a fine not exceeding $500 who, in or within hearing of any public place, uses any indecent or obscene words.

    (3) In determining for the purposes of a prosecution under this section whether any words were indecent or obscene, the court shall have regard to all the circumstances pertaining at the material time, including whether the defendant had reasonable grounds for believing that the person to whom the words were addressed, or any person by whom they might be overheard, would not be offended.

    (4) It is a defence in a prosecution under subsection (2) if the defendant proves that he had reasonable grounds for believing that his words would not be overheard.

    (5) Nothing in this section shall apply with respect to any publication within the meaning of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, whether the publication is objectionable within the meaning of that Act or not.

    Compare: 1927 No 35 ss 3D, 48; 1954 No 50 s 40(1); 1967 No 154 s 2(1)

    Section 4(1): amended, on 1 January 1998, by section 7 of the Summary Offences Amendment Act 1997 (1997 No 97).

    Section 4(2): amended, on 1 January 1998, by section 7 of the Summary Offences Amendment Act 1997 (1997 No 97).

    Section 4(5): added, on 1 October 1994, by section 150(1) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (1993 No 94).