Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tasmania's Blasphemy Statute

Here is the text of the Australian State of Tasmania's statute on blasphemy, which is still in force. It contains several elements that are familiar: no definition of what "blasphemous libel" is, an exception for speech made "in good faith and in decent language", and a provision that requires the consent of the Attorney-General to prosecute.

Source: Criminal Code Act 1924 s. 119
119. Blasphemy

(1) Any person who, by words spoken or intended to be read, wilfully publishes a blasphemous libel is guilty of a crime.

(2) The question whether any matter so published is or is not blasphemous is a question of fact.

(3) It is not an offence under this section to express in good faith and in decent language, or to attempt to establish by arguments used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, any opinion whatever upon any religious subject.

(4) No person shall be prosecuted under this section without the consent in writing of the Attorney-General.

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