Amendment 4 to the Offences and Sentencing Act

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Amendment 4 to the Offences and Sentencing Act
CitationProposed Aa-4 to A-24
Enacted byOpen Parliament
Legislative history
Introduced on11 September 2020
Introduced byAnaaxes
Required majoritySimple majority
Status: Pending

This Act Amendment establishes a new offence and expands the definition of perjury to address vulnerabilities raised by a recent incursion against our region in which the privacy and good faith of its Member States was violated by way of deception by foreign actors, as well as makes minor technical amendments to several existing offences.

Section 1. Expansion of Statements Subject to Penalty for Perjury

Due to the inherent consequences and limitations of an entirely-digital operation, such as the government and community of the Social Liberal Union, the Open Parliament finds and declares that public policy must assure, at the very minimum, users gaining access to off-site regional services have their identities reasonably verified as being in fact controlled by the States which they purport to be. Therefore, a clause shall be appended under Article 7, Section 7 of the Offences and Sentencing Act, to read as follows:

Provided always that, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a State may be subject to prosecution under this Section for up to a class 6 offence for each and every material false statement or misrepresentation made during any questioning or inquiry by an officer of the Social Liberal Union in the course of their official duties related to their identity, official political or military affiliations, or provenance whatsoever, to gain or attempt to gain admission or access to: 1) the regional forum; or 2) the regional chatroom; or 3) any server, network, website, or system authorized by law or otherwise maintained under the authority of the Social Liberal Union for the benefit of its Member States. Further provided, that a prosecution under this Clause: 1) shall be recorded in the indictment and proceedings as perjury under special circumstances; and 2) shall not require the State in question to have been administered an oath or affirmation first nor shall the lack of a written perjury admonishment or warning during or before their questioning or inquiry by an officer be a defense or mitigating factor in any case.

Section 2. New Offence for Civil Espionage

A section entitled "Espionage against the civil power" shall be appended to Article 11 of the Offences and Sentencing Act, to read as follows:

Any State covertly acting on behalf of or in concert with a foreign regional government or organization, or, otherwise under a feigned name and in a disguised manner, which after having gained access (through whatever means) to the regional forum, chatroom, or other website or service authorized by law does disseminate or export a privileged civil conversation or a portion thereof, or, a material summarization or abstraction thereof, originating therein (saving and excepting the State's own original postings or submissions, or, content disclosed with express permission of the author) for the purpose of: 1) harassment, blackmail, or libel as defined by law; or 2) furthering any criminal or seditious conspiracy as defined by law; or 3) furthering any foreign political, military, intelligence, or malicious social objective whatsoever, is guilty of civil espionage and may be subject to prosecution for a class 6 offence.
Clause 1. Provided always that, a prosecution under this Section need not occur within the regular territorial jurisdiction of the Social Liberal Union and may be prosecuted against foreign States, and such proceedings taken under this Clause shall be subject to stay or termination by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, with the consent of the Delegate, at any time before the verdict is rendered. A duly-authorized motion to terminate proceedings under this Clause is equivalent to acquittal on the charge(s) prosecuted under this Section.
Clause 2. For the purpose of this Section only, a "privileged civil conversation" refers to content generated or posted by a Member State of the Social Liberal Union in their private capacity or as a Member of the Open Parliament containing in whole or part any conversation or discussion materially related to: 1) a matter protected by the attorney-client privilege provided for by law; or 2) any aspect of their physical or mental health status or history; or 3) any aspect related to their gender, sex, or sexual orientation; or 4) any information concerning their names, aliases, addresses, occupations, vocations, hobbies, country or region of birth or residence, schools, employers, relatives, race, color, ethnicity, age, or date of birth; or 5) any phone numbers, email addresses, social media handles, or any other reasonably-identifiable personal contact information not otherwise in the public domain; or 6) any discourse related to the Constitution, laws, judicial decisions, executive orders, and foreign policy or diplomatic relations of the Social Liberal Union, or, any past or pending matter, bill, election, or proceeding before or related to the Open Parliament.

Section 3. Narrowing the Scope of Prosecutions for Interfering with an Officer of the Social Liberal Union

Article 6, Section 4 shall be amended to read as follows:

Any State which interferes with any officer of the Social Liberal Union while such officer is engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties, or any State assisting such an officer in the performance of such duties or on account of that assistance while that State is engaged in, or on account of the performance of official duties, may be subject to prosecution for a class 4 offence if such interference materially and gravely imperiled, or did prevent, the due compliance with a public duty, requirement, or obligation imposed by the Constitution, law, or court order.

Section 4. Clarification of Ambiguous Definition for Bribery of Witnesses

Article 7, Section 1 shall be amended to read as follows:

Any State which directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers, or promises any thing or service of value to any State, or offers or promises such State to give any thing or service of value to any other State or entity, with intent to influence the testimony under oath or affirmation, or filings under penalty of perjury, of such witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before the Court of Justice, or any body or officer authorized by the laws of the Social Liberal Union to hear testimony or take evidence, or with intent to influence such State to absent themself therefrom, may be subject to prosecution for a class 5 offence.