The Commission's 1990 report on Loitering recommended the removal of a provision of the Crimes Ordinance commonly used to prosecute people for loitering if a satisfactory explanation for a person's presence is not given. The recommendation was incorporated into the Crimes (Amendment) Ordinance, enacted in July 1996.
Section 160 of the Crimes Ordinance contains three sub-sections which deal with loitering offences. Sub-section (1) makes it an offence if a loiterer fails to give a satisfactory explanation at the time for his presence. There was criticism of this provision on the grounds that the requirement to provide an explanation ran counter to the general rule that the accused had a right to silence. The Commission concluded that section 160(1) should be repealed.
Sub-sections 2 and 3 of section 160 makes it an offence for a loiterer to wilfully obstruct any other person, or to cause any person reasonably to be concerned for his safety. The Commission pointed out that these two provisions had been operating satisfactorily without criticism and concluded that they should be retained.
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