Last edited: April 18, 2004

Solomon Islands

  • Statute: Section 153 "buggery"
  • Penalty: 14 years
  • Restrictions:  

Section 153 Penal Code criminalizes "buggery" with a penalty of up to 14 years' imprisonment. Section 154 prohibits "attempts to buggery and indecent assaults" with a penalty of up to 7 years' imprisonment. Section 155 punishes acts of "gross indecency" in private or public, with up to 5 years' imprisonment. (PB) Section 155 was amended in 1989 to include females as well as males. (Anita Jowitt - communication of 2 Nov 98)

The inclusion of lesbian sex in Section 155 followed a challenge to that Section, on the basis that it was discriminatory against males:

"Director of Public Prosecutions v Noel Bowie [1988] Solomon Islands Law Reports 113:

s 155, relating to gross indecency between males was challenged in Court as it contravened the Constitution, being discriminatory against males. In the lower court the section was declared invalid, however, on appeal, s155 was interpreted as being invalid only to the extent that it applied exclusively to males.
"I am sure that, had the legislature been considering s 155 in pursuance of the Constitution, it would still have made gross indecency a criminal offence…. It may well be that in 1963 the Legislature did not even consider the question of acts of gross indecency between females…"

"The Solomon Islands case of Noel Bowie is the only case I am aware of in which the decriminalisation of homosexuality is considered [in the Pacific Islands]. There the courts did alter the Penal Code so as to make it non discriminatory, but did this by making it non gender specific." (Anita Jowitt - communication of 2 Nov 98)*Laws


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