The State Parliament of Victoria has proposed to criminalise ‘Grossly Offensive Behaviour’. What does this mean, and will NSW State Parliament follow?

On around 22 June 2022, in the State Parliament of Victoria, a draft bill was introduced aimed at punishing individuals who are found to commit acts of ‘Grossly offensive behaviour’. Known as Lynette’s Law, the proposed amendment ensures that conduct that is grossly offensive to community standards of behaviour will be regarded as a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of five years.

Lynette’s Law applies when individuals commit grossly offensive acts at places where their behaviour can be seen or heard publicly. Further, once accused to the proposed offence, it must be established that the accused must have had a reasonable understanding that a reasonable person ought to have known that their conduct was grossly offensive at the time of the offence. This draft bill was passed in response to the conduct displayed by an offender of the Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway incident who filmed and displayed acts of grossly offensive behaviour towards the victims of the crash. At the time of incident, the State did not have a legal principle that formally categorised the offender’s action.

The proposed bill is yet to be revised by the State Parliament, however, if successfully passed it will prove to be a positive action against individuals who act confidently and are willing to display offensive and disrespectful behaviours in public without implication. Further, when passed, what implications will the future amendment bring and will the NSW State Parliament follow and adopt the amendment into NSW. As grossly offensive behaviour is a new concept to be categorised as criminal offence, common law must also pass to help define and assist what conducts constitutes a grossly offensive behaviour. This is important as without precedent, it will be difficult to determine when a conduct satisfies breaking Lynette’s Law.

Lynette’s Law if passed in Victoria and subsequently passed in NSW will involve matters to be dealt under Criminal Litigations. Criminal litigation is a field that Foulsham and Geddes Solicitors can assist with and provide expert advice. For any enquiries regarding criminal matters, feal free to contact Foulsham and Geddes and we will ensure to provide with services at best we can.