Presentation on theme: "Offences against Morality What does "morality" mean to you?"— Presentation transcript:
Offences against Morality What does "morality" mean to you?
Prostitution: In Canada, the act of prostitution itself is not a criminal offence; what is criminal is the act of soliciting. Prostitution: the act of engaging in sexual services for money. It is often described as the worlds “oldest profession” because it has existed throughout recorded history.
Section 213(1) makes it clear that either the prostitute or the client can be charged with soliciting if, in a place open to public view, he or she: a)stops or attempts to stop any motor vehicle b)impedes the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or ingress (entry) to or egress (exit) from premises adjacent to that place, or c)stops or attempts to stop any person, or in any manner communicates or attempts to communicate with any person, for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or of obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute.
Example: If a man in a bar offered plainclothes police officer money for sex, he could be charged with soliciting because the communication occurred in a public place. Soliciting is a summary conviction offence; fingerprints and photographs are not taken, and the offender will not acquire a criminal record.
Keeping a common bawdyhouse is also a summary offence. A common bawdyhouse is a place kept, occupied, or used by a person for the purpose of prostitution or the practice of indecent acts.
Procuring (obtaining or getting) is another illegal activity related to prostitution. It involves directing customers to prostitute. It also involves living off the earnings of a prostitute. The penalty for procuring is much harsher than the penalties for soliciting or keeping a common bawdyhouse. That is all because without the procurer (the pimp), prostitution might not happen at all.
Procuring and living off the income of prostitution are indictable offences with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison- 14 years if the prostitute is under 18. What do you think? Is Prostitution a moral issue, or a legal issue?
Under Aged Prostitutes: Some provinces have moved to protect underage prostitutes. Alberta’s Protection of Children Involved in Prostitute Act (passed in 2000) allows authorities to pick up suspected prostitutes under 18 years of age. They are taken to a safe house and can be held up to 72 hours without being charged. The safe house provides an opportunity for the youths to be free from their pimps and to receive counseling.
The highway and traffic acts in several provinces have been amended to allow police to seize, impound, and sell vehicles used in picking up prostitutes on the street. Also, the person driving license can be suspended.
In 2005 Ontario passed a civil law that goes even further. Civil courts are allowed to free and seize any property bough with the proceeds of prostitution without laying criminal charges. Fast Fact: Substance abuse is cited as one factor that leads young people to engage in prostitution.
Obscenity: Obscenity refers to words, images or actions that go against moral values. This could range from simple profanity to offensive pictures of videos. The legal definition can be found in section 136 of the Criminal Code. This issue is a controversial one. Why?
The Supreme Court generally follows the “community standards test.” It must determine what the community would tolerate. Sex acts that are “degrading or dehumanizing” are considered obscene. The courts frequently must determine whether something is obscene or a work of art. Under the Criminal Code it is considered obscene if it exploits sex or contains material on extreme crime, horror, cruelty, or violence.
There are a variety of offences related to obscenity. Some examples are: making, printing, circulating, mailing, or distributing obscene material. Police can obtain a warrant to seize any obscene materials and then lay charges.
Customs offices also have the right to seize materials that they think are obscene.
Example: Vancouver’s Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium imported books that included gay and lesbian erotica. Under Section 136 (8) of the Criminal Code, they were deemed obscene. Therefore, customs officials seized these and did not allow the material to enter Canada.
On December 15, 2000 in Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium v. Canada, the Supreme Court supported the right of customs officers to ban the obscene material from entering Canada.
Gambling: Like prostitution, gambling itself is not a criminal offence in Canada, BUT offences can be committed in relation to gambling. These offences are primarily divided into those involving disorderly house, and those involving illegal forms of betting.
A disorderly house: a common bawdy (vulgar, lewd), betting, or gaming house. It is a place where people bet among themselves (example on a horse race or football game) and where the keeper of the house receives a portion of the winning bet.
A common gambling house is a place kept for gain or profit where people play games, such as poker, and where the keeper of the house retains a portion of the winnings from the games.
It is a criminal offence to keep a disorderly house, to be found in a disorderly house, or to permit a place to be used as a disorderly house. Anyone who keeps a common betting or gaming house is guilty of an indictable offence, and can be sentenced a prison term of up to 2 years.
There are exceptions to these laws. A bona fide social club, for instance, is exempted from the definition of a common betting or gaming house. Such a club is formed by a group of people who get together for a social purpose, such as playing cards, and not for the purpose of making a profit. This system of betting at horse races is also legal, as long as the track has government approval. In this case, the operators pay the government a percentage of the money their customers bet on the races.
Should governments benefit from racetrack betting even though it is a criminal offence for an individual to benefit from keeping a common betting house? What are your thoughts on Casino’s?