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Feb 8, 2024

Senate Debates Amendment to Criminal Code Act

Michael Peyrefitte

Inside the National Assembly chamber, senators debated amendments to the Criminal Code and Summary Jurisdiction Acts. The proposed amendments seek to increase jail time for individuals who interfere with the work of law enforcement officers. Lead U.D.P. Senator, Michael Peyrefitte, raised concerns over the definitions of certain offenses outlined in the legislation, such as indecent words and behavior. NGO Senator Janelle Chanona also weighed in on the proposed amendment. These contributions prompted a response from Senator Eamon Courtenay. Here is how that discussion played out.


Michael Peyrefitte, U.D.P. Senator

“I have great issue with the summary jurisdiction amendment. If you read it carefully madam president, what this is saying pretty much is that I don’t even have to threaten a public officer. I don’t even have to threaten a peace officer, all that peace officer has to do is determine that what I say in my own yard, amongst my own friends, drinking rum, that I can go jail for that. That is what I find completely and utterly unacceptable. It says, any person who uses, I am reading from the news section four (a), any person who uses any threatening, abusive, profane, obscene, and this is where you really lose me, indecent, because who defines indecent. What might be indecent to you might not be indecent to me, especially if I am in my home, if I am in my yard.”


Janelle Chanona

Janelle Chanona, NGO Senator

“We fully support the direction of this bill, but calls out that I don’t know if this is the open and shut to it. And I know we have some other pieces of legislation in the works. We would like to signal that sexual harassment on a whole currently should definitely be treated with the seriousness it deserves. As stated earlier, it is also critically important to define what is meant by terms. Because, what I might consider sexual harassment and indecent others may not consider indecent and what is culturally tolerated, if not encouraged behavior is so intrinsic sometimes we lose sight of what that is and that becomes blurred.”


Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Lead Government Senator

“What Senator Peyrefitte described, drinking and having a barbeque with his friends, behaving the way he usually behave, he will be guilty of an offense today. Let us look at what the bill proposes, we are going to repeal the provision I just read. Now recall what I read; the law as it stand today does not have any categories. Anybody who does these things and anybody who hears it anywhere is an offense. There are now these limiting words, if you do it in the hearing of a person acting as a judicial officer, legal officer and peace officer. Not a police officer walking down the road. He has to be performing his duties and this happens, then an offense is committed.”

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