Crimes (Blasphemy Repeal) Amendment Bill

Project discussion: Blasphemy repeal

Crimes (Blasphemy Repeal) Amendment Bill

Member's Bill

Explanatory Note

This bill amends the Crimes Act 1961 to repeal the crime of blasphemous libel. Blasphemous libel is criminalised by section 123 of the Crimes Act 1961 and carries a penalty of up to one year’s imprisonment. The offence has never been successfully prosecuted in New Zealand, and is inconsistent with the affirmation of freedom of expression in the New Zealand Bill Of Rights Act 1990.

The bill repeals section 123 of the Crimes Act 1961, and provides that there will be no prosecutions for historic offences.

Crimes (Blasphemy Repeal) Amendment Bill

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1. Title
This Act is the Crimes (Blasphemy Repeal) Amendment Act 2015.

2. Commencement
This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it received the Royal Assent.

3. Principal Act
This Act amends the Crimes Act 1961.

4. Part 7 Amended
Replace the heading to Part 7 with "Part 7
Crimes against morality and public welfare

5. Cross-heading and Section 123 repealed (Blasphemous libel)
Repeal section 123 and the cross-heading above section 123.

6. Past Offences
No person shall be liable for an offence against section 123 of the Crimes Act 1961 committed before the commencement of this Act.

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