Sunday, 13 March 2011

Obscene Language/Profanity Laws

Q: What law says that it is illegal to curse in Trinidad & Tobago?

A: According to Section 49 of the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02;

Any person making use of any insulting, annoying or violent language with intent to, or which might tend to provoke any other person to commit a breach of the peace... or to the annoyance of any resident or person in [public]... is liable to a fine of TT$200 or imprisonment for 30 days.


This is a breach of one's freedom of expression in blatant contravention of Section 4(i) of Trinidad and Tobago's constitution. The only limit on obscene language should be when it incites, or has the potential to incite violence.


This is a very oppressive law.

36 comments:

  1. what can i do if iam arrested for such a crime

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  2. It depends. First offence or repeat offender? Are you guilty or not? If so, are you willing to accept or challenge the charges?

    Get a Lawyer.

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  3. It says that obscenity in section 4(i) is not an offense so why do citizens constantly hear that its an offense as i do recall there's freedom of thoughts and expression.

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  4. it says that citizens of T&T has a freedom of thoughts and expression so why do we constantly hear that obscenity is an offense??

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  5. 49. Any person making use of any insulting, annoying or violent language with intent to, or which might tend to, provoke any other person to commit a breach of the peace, and any person who uses any obscene, indecent or profane language to the annoyance of any resident or person in any street or of any person in a place to which the public is admitted or has access, or who fights or otherwise disturbs the peace, is liable to a fine of two hundred dollars or to imprisonment for thirty days.

    a police cannot be annoyed he is a professional in his field and he must get someone on the street to assist in his case, and the person must be wARNED OF THE OFFENCE FIRST THEN CONTINUES

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    Replies
    1. "Professional" and "Police" do not belong in the same sentence.

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  6. what do I do if my neighbor curse and insult me and my family?

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    Replies
    1. Make a police report for harassment or if you feel like your life is in danger, apply for a restraining order.

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  7. Agreed that offensive language isn't really offensive in this post Victorian world.
    However, the rights under the constitution are not absolute. Otherwise:
    No one should be in jail; they have a right to freedom or
    Someone would like to walk around naked near a primary school; this is how he expresses himself

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  8. I hear you saying that this is an oppressive law but peace is nearly extinct in this Trinbago. What is your view on 'the peace', this thing that ought not to be breached, and can it only

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  9. Can the peace only be breached by violence? I am an artist, musician, and writer of middle-class (i.e. not so much cussing) background. People talking loudly outside while I am working breaches MY peace. Letting them CURSE at length to freely express themselves would be deeply oppressive to me. What say you to that?

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  10. Seriously, what is 'The Peace' that shouldn't be breached? For people like me, we want to know exactly how little we may belong in Trinbago.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't write the laws... I'm just here to help people understand them.

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  11. Do i need a lawery if i am defendant

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  12. Would an obscene language charge go on my criminal record?

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    Replies
    1. Any conviction would be on your criminal record, except minor traffic offences.

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  13. Hello. I have a toddler and someone curse her 5 times directly in her face and once again saying f you together with my toddler name. I told the police and the most they did was told her she should not be doing that, and then they say this is just petty stuff and left. This is serious to me, an innocent toddler being cursed and not much is done. What can i do to in this situation?

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    Replies
    1. If you know the person's name and address, you can bring them up at the Magistrate's court. Visit the JP, walk with $3 and they'll guide you accordingly.

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  14. Hi good day I would like to find out some thing I went down a one way by mistake it was one of the hours one way was new to the area the police stopped me and used some choice obscene language on me telling me I am dotish and stupid and cursing me f and c words does he have the power to do that and what law protects citizens aginst that abuse I was wrong and I accepted that cus I did not know but the language was not required and not to mention the embarrassment

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  15. My aunt have a claim against me for harassment. I told the judge I will speak for myself and she said I needed legal advice on the case. What do I need to know?

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    Replies
    1. You should read the disclaimer of this website.

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  16. Can someone please explain "annoying language". I'm don't think I quite understand.

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  17. I'm not sure why we would look at this law as oppressive. If we are looking at this as oppressive then we are saying it's ok to just use obscene however and wherever we want to with no remorse to those who are around.

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    Replies
    1. TT Constitution, s 4(b)(i) "freedom of thought and expression".

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  18. If i had a conversation with C about T and told C that T is a f------ lier. Can you tell me if that is an offence. This was a phone conversation and the conversation was recorded

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  19. How long do you have to report someone if they use obscene language on you. is it 6 months? After 6 months is the matter valid?

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    Replies
    1. :/
      Seriously? After all this time, you're still looking for revenge? Move on with your life.

      Delete
  20. I recently bought an android box that contains alot of adult stuff. I do not look at porn, but is it illegal to buy such stuff.

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    Replies
    1. As long as it doesn't involve children, watching porn privately is not a crime.

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    2. Thanks for your feedback but purchasing the box that contained adult stuff was that an issue?

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  21. Hi. My boss gave me a letter for posting a comment on Facebook that he implied to be about himself. I did not say his name or the name of the company. Can I be dismissed for this. They have cited it as misconduct.

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    Replies
    1. If no names were called, how can they possibly call that misconduct? Crazy people.

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