(SNO) — Following the arrest of a man in Dennery over the weekend for insulting a police officer who among other charges, many Saint Lucians have been debating on social media whether his actions, seen in a viral video, were a crime or not.
But his actions were indeed a crime. Yes, it was illegal. It was an offence (whatever you want to call it). And that’s not an opinion. That’s according to the laws of Saint Lucia, the Criminal Code, which is readily available – for free.
Many have expressed outrage that the man was arrested for insulting an officer because the matter appeared to be petty: the defendant (initially) did not use physical force and did not appear to be armed. But according to local laws, based on his actions in the video (see below) they were all criminal.
To make his situation more dim, the defendant was not cooperative when the officers returned to arrest him. Resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer are also offences, punishable by law.
During the video, he was also seen doing insulting gestures to the officer. This is also against the law.
Below are sections of the Saint Lucia Criminal Code that pertains to the case in the viral video. Also see the photo gallery below the article with actual copies of the law
419. Violence to deter official or for recourse to public officer
The person who uses any violence with intent to deter any other person from acting in any official capacity, or from having recourse to any public officer, or on account of his or her having so acted or had recourse to any public officer, is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for 7 years
420. Violence or deceit to hinder or obstruct public officer
A person who assaults, molests, obstructs or resists, or aids and abets or incites any other person to assault, molest, obstruct or resist any public officer or the person acting in the aid of such officer, while the officer is acting or proceeding to act in the in the execution of any public office or duty, or in execution of any warrant or legal process, is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for 7 years or on summary confiction to imprisonment for 2 years
531. Unseemly noise in public
A person who in any public place wilfully or wantonly makes or causes to be made any loud or unseemly noise whatsoever, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1,000
532. Insult in public likely to provoke assault
A person who in any public place insults any other person in his or her presence in such a manner as is likely to provoke a person to commit an assault, is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for 3 months
533. Insulting gesture
A person who, in any place makes any insulting gesture to or at any person is liable to summary conviction to a fine of $1,000
534. Insulting, abusive, or profane language
A person who, in any place utters any abusive, insulting, obscene, or profane language, to any other person, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1,000
535. Loud annoying language in public
A person who, in any public place, by violent shouting or loud and boisterous language, annoys any other person is liable to summary conviction to a fine of $1,000.
536. Personalities, jeering, mocking
A person who, in any place, jeers at, or mocks, or makes personal remarks to or concerning any other person with intent to insult or annoy that person, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1,000
537. Calling a person names
The person who, in any place calls another person by name other than his or her own with intent to insult or annoy that other person, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1,000