The range of sexual offences under the criminal law includes rape, buggery and gross indecency, indecent assault, abduction, incest and other unlawful sexual acts. The existing law has been criticised because some of these offences are gender-specific, while others are based on sexual orientation. There are also concerns that the existing sexual offences may not adequately reflect the range of non-consensual conduct which should be subject to criminal sanction. The maximum sentences that are applicable to the various offences may also need to be reviewed.
In the light of these concerns, the Law Reform Commission was asked to review the existing sexual offences under the criminal law and, in addition, whether a register of sex offenders should be established. A sub-committee was formed in June 2006 to consider the topic. The members of the Review of Sexual Offences Sub-committee (in alphabetical order) are:
|Mr Peter Duncan, SC, Barrister (Chairman)|
|Hon Mrs Justice Barnes, Judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court|
|Ms Chau Fung Mui, Wendy, Assistant Director (Family & Child Welfare), Social Welfare Department|
|Mr Eric TM Cheung, Principal Lecturer, Department of Law, University of Hong Kong|
|Ms Chui Shih Yen, Joceline, Principal Assistant Secretary for Security (E), Security Bureau|
|Mr Paul Ho, Principal Government Counsel, Department of Justice|
|Professor Karen A Joe Laidler, Director, Centre for Criminology and Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Hong Kong|
|Mr Andrew Powner, Partner, Haldanes, Solicitors|
|Ms Lisa Remedios, Barrister|
The Sub-committee's Secretary is Ms Sally Ng, Senior Government Counsel.The Sub-committee published a consultation paper in July 2008 containing its interim proposals on the question of a sex offenders register. A Commission report on this aspect of the project was published in February 2010. In December 2010, the Commission issued a report proposing the abolition of the common law presumption that a boy under 14 is incapable of sexual intercourse. The Sub-committee published a consultation paper in September 2012 on rape and other non-consensual sexual offences, a consultation paper in November 2016 on sexual offences involving children and persons with mental impairment, and a consultation paper in May 2018 on miscellaneous sexual offences. In April 2019, the Commission issued a report recommending the introduction of a specific offence of voyeurism and a specific offence in respect of non-consensual upskirt-photography. In December 2019, the Commission issued a report on review of substantive sexual offences. In November 2020, the Sub-committee published a consultation paper on sentencing and related matters in the review of sexual offences. In May 2022, the Commission issued a report on sentencing and related matters in the review of sexual offences.