VIII. Possible criminal charges against a stalker for common law offences

A. Outraging public decency

Outraging public decency is an offence contrary to Common Law and punishable under section 101I of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance ( Cap. 221 ). This offence again affords potential protection to the victim of a stalker where there is an act of such lewd, obscene or disgusting character as constitutes an outrage of public decency. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for seven years or a fine. It potentially affords protection where the stalker follows his female victim in a public place, and takes or attempts to take an upskirt photograph or exposes himself indecently to the victim. There are obvious difficulties, however, in applying the offence to simple following or contacting, especially where the contract is made through information and communication technology systems.

B. False imprisonment

False imprisonment is complete deprivation of the victim’s freedom to leave a place for any time, however short, without lawful cause. It is an offence contrary to common law and also a tort. Incarceration in the accepted sense of the word is not necessary. It is sufficient that the victim is unlawfully prevented from leaving a place. A stalker who threatens force and intimidates the victim into remaining where they are commits false imprisonment.

False imprisonment is a common law offence. The maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment and a fine according to section 101I of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance .