Sexy Horseplay or Criminal Voyeurism?

A private member’s bill would alter the Criminal Code to add a section making it illegal to distribute a visual recording “with malicious intent,” of a person who is nude or involved in a sexual act — unless the subject of the photo has consented.

The Crown could charge an offender with either an indictable offence that carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence or a summary offence that carries a maximum penalty of 18 months’ imprisonment.

Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm tabled Bill C-540, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, June 17. It has support from both the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The bill defines “intimate images” as “a visual recording of a person who is nude, who is exposing his or her genital organs, anal region or her breasts, or who is engaged or depicted as being engaged in explicit sexual activity.”

Nova Scotia teenager Rehtaeh Parsons killed herself last year, after cell phone images of her being sexually assaulted were circulated in social media, her parents allege. The incident brought world-wide attention to bullying and sexual content in social media shared among young persons.

Read more in the Halifax Chronicle.

One comment

  1. Considering the age group most likely to be affected, the penalties do seem severe. Making it a “super summary” offence would mean that young persons charged will not be able to use paralegal services, which would place a financial burden on defense.

    As a private member’s bill, this legislation faces an uncertain future. If it does get to the Committee stage, I suppose it will be letter-writing time — for your point, Frank, and others.

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