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Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

Section 72: Offences committed outside the United Kingdom

485.Subsection (1)substitutes a new section 72 into the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (which allows for the prosecution of British citizens or UK residents for sexual offences against children committed abroad).

486.New section 72(1) makes it an offence for a UK national to commit an act outside the UK which would constitute a relevant sexual offence if done in England and Wales or Northern Ireland. This has the effect of removing the requirement that the act committed must have been illegal in the country where it took place, in respect of the prosecution of UK nationals. However, this requirement remains for the prosecution of UK residents under new section 72(2) and those who become UK residents or nationals under new section 72(3) and (4). Where a person becomes a UK national or resident after having committed a relevant sex offence, in a country outside the UK, such a person must also be a national or resident at the time the proceedings are brought.

487.New section 72(9) provides definitions of “country”, “UK national” and “UK resident”.

488.New sections 72(5) to (8) replicate provisions in the current section 72. They provide rules relating to how the prosecution can prove that the offence was an offence in the country in which it was committed.

489.Subsections (2), (3) and (4) amend Schedule 2 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The effect of these amendments is that the new section 72 will apply to sexual offences committed against children under 18, rather than under 16, or in the case of Northern Ireland under 17.

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