Gross indecency (criminal offence)
Gross indecency is a British and Canadian legal term which was used to criminalise sexual activity between men, short of anal penetration. The term was first used in British law in a statute of the British Parliament in 1885, and was carried forward in other statutes in Britain, Canada and other then-British colonies. The offence was never actually defined in any of the statutes which used it, leaving the scope of the offence to be defined by decisions of the courts.
In Britain, the term was used in the following criminal offences:
- gross indecency between men — section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 (known as the Labouchere Amendment), and later section 13 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956.
- indecency with a child — section 1(1) of the Indecency with Children Act 1960.
In Canada, the term "gross indecency" was used in the Criminal Code (sections 178 (1892), 206 (1906, 1927), 149 (1953-1954), 157 (1970), 161 (1985)) as well as in the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1968-1969, section 7.
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