27th October 2022
The Gibraltar Government has published draft legislation to provide for on-the-spot penalties for disorderly behaviour.
If approved by the Gibraltar Parliament, the law would allow for law enforcement officers to issue penalty notices for a range of low-level offences, thus avoiding the need for court proceedings unless the alleged offender chooses to be tried.
The draft legislation would also impose responsibility on parents and guardians for the actions of their children.
It states that in cases where offences are committed by juveniles under the age of 18, their parents or guardians will be notified and made liable to pay the penalty.
The list of offences that would be covered by the penalty notices is long and includes different types of disorderly conduct and breaches of the peace; common assault, theft and destruction of property; possession of cannabis and being drunk in a public place; several alcohol-related offences including buying alcohol for juveniles; noise-related offences; and throwing fireworks on a public thoroughfare, among other offences.
Under the proposed legislation, a penalty notice must include particulars of the offence and inform the person that they have the right to be tried in court if they challenge the notice, although fines on conviction would likely be higher in such circumstances.
Under the draft legislation, the penalty cannot exceed a quarter of the amount of the maximum fine for which a person would be liable on summary conviction for the offence.
The draft legislation was published on Thursday and has yet to be debated and passed by the Gibraltar Parliament.