Major changes suggested to Penal Code under Reform Bill
The Criminal Law Reform Bill was introduced in Parliament yesterday. If passed, major changes will be made to the Penal Code and other laws.
Here are some main points:
MARITAL RAPE IMMUNITY REPEALED
Men will no longer have legal immunity for raping their spouses.
Currently, if a man forces his wife to have sex with him, he will not be guilty of rape unless in certain circumstances that signal a breakdown in the marriage, such as if a personal protection order is in force.
With the proposed amendments, a husband can be charged with raping his wife and if convicted can be jailed up to 20 years, and fined or caned.
RAPE TO BE GENDER NEUTRAL
Currently a man can rape only a woman. The proposed amendments will mean men can be considered rape victims as well.
This is because the definition of rape will include non-consensual penile-anal and penile-oral penetration. So, if a man forces another man or woman to perform oral sex on him, this will be considered rape. A woman who forces a man to sexually penetrate her can be charged with sexual assault involving penetration under the proposed amendments, which carries similar maximum penalties as rape.
DECEPTION AND CONSENT
For sexual offences, the victim's consent will not be valid if he or she is deceived into believing the act is not sexual in nature or purpose, or deceived of the identity of the person doing the act.
Lying about whether one has a sexually transmitted disease or about the use of contraception when getting consent for sex acts will also be a crime.
CHILD ABUSE MATERIAL
It will be an offence to produce, distribute, advertise or possess any material depicting the sexual and physical abuse of minors under 16.
This includes material that depicts actual children or images indistinguishable from actual children, and material depicting a minor's genitalia.
Possessing, producing, selling and distributing child sex dolls will also be a crime.
ATTEMPTED SUICIDE DECRIMINALISATION
Attempted suicide will no longer be an offence, but police will have powers to intervene in attempted suicide cases to prevent injury or loss of life. Currently, those convicted can be jailed up to a year, fined, or both.
The abetment of suicide will continue to be an offence, and those convicted can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
MINIMUM AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY
The minimum age of criminal responsibility will be raised from seven to 10. This will come in effect when the Government develops a suitable rehabilitation framework to manage children aged between seven and 10.