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Offensive Conduct

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Offence Conduct is a Crime under section 4 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 which carries a maximum penalty of 3 months in prison , or a fine of $660.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. That you conducted yourself in an offensive manner
  2. The conduct occurred in, near or within hearing from a public place or school

There is no list of conduct that is considered to be ‘offensive’.

The test is whether a hypothetical person who is “reasonably contemporary” and “not too thin-skinned” would consider it to be offensive. The conduct must be “… calculated to would the feelings, arouse anger or resentment or disgust in the mind of a reasonable person.”

“What has to be considered…is whether the conduct in question, even if in some sense hurtful or blameworthy, or improper, is also offensive”. “The mere expression of political views… does not… amount to offensive…” Words alone cannot constitute the offence.

A ‘public place’ is defined as any place or part of a premises which is open to or used by the whole or part of the public whether or not payment is required to access it.

This includes:

  1. Pubs and clubs,
  2. Restaurants,
  3. Shopping centres,
  4. Retail stores, and
  5. Private lands which allow public access

A defence to the charge is that you had a reasonable excuse for engaging in the conduct, such as being naked at a designated nude beach.

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