Penal Code Act, 2012
Act 6 of 2012
- Published in Government Gazette no. 30 on 9 March 2012
- Commenced on 9 March 2012
- [This is the version of this document from 9 March 2012.]
Part I – General principles
1. Citation and commencementThis Act may be cited as the Penal Code Act, 2010 (in this Act referred to as the "Code") and shall come into operation on the date of its publication in the Gazette.
3. InterpretationIn this Code, unless the context otherwise requires—"adult" means any person who has attained 18 years or acquired majority by virtue of marriage;"agent" means any person who, pursuant to an agreement, acts on behalf of another in the conduct of that other person’s affairs;"child" means any person who has not attained the age of 18 years;"grievous bodily harm" means any harm which amounts to serious harm, or seriously or permanently injures or is likely to injure health, or which extends to permanent disfigurement or to any permanent or serious injury to any external or internal organ, membrane or sense;"legal practitioner or advisor" means any person admitted to the practise of law in Lesotho;"medical practitioner" means any person who is registered in terms of the law regulating the admission of medical, dental and pharmaceutical professionals and qualified to practice medicine, dentistry or pharmacy;"member of the victim’s household" is any person normally residing in the same private dwelling as a victim and includes any domestic servant of the victim;"mental disorder" means a condition which involves a temporary or permanent disruption of the mental state, excluding a condition which has an incidental effects;"noxious substance" means any substance which, when administered, causes physical or mental harm, distress or annoyance to the person to whom it is administered;"possession"—(a)"be in possession of" or "have in possession" includes not only having in one's own personal possession, but also knowingly having anything in the actual possession, control or custody of any other person, or having anything in any place (whether belonging to, or occupied by oneself or not) for the use or benefit of oneself or of any other person;(b)if there are two or more persons and any one or more of them with the knowledge and consent of the rest has or have anything in his, her or their custody, control or possession, it shall be deemed and taken to be in the custody and possession of each and all of them;"property" includes movables and immovables, money, salary, debts, legacies and all deeds and instruments relating to or evidencing title or right;"private dwelling" includes any building or structure used by any person for the purposes of residence, whether permanent or temporary, any accommodation lawfully occupied for residential purposes, whether shared with other persons or not, and any hospital ward;"public official" includes any person in the employment of the Government of Lesotho or employment of any other organization exercising a public power or performing a public duty pursuant to law;"public place" includes any road, building, conveyance or place to which the public has access, either upon condition of making any payment or not, and any building or place used for religious gatherings or public meetings;"sexual act" means—(a)direct or indirect contact with the anus, breasts, penis, buttocks, thighs or vagina of one person and any other part of the body of another person;(b)exposure or display of the genital organs of one person to another person;(c)the insertion of any part of the body of a person or of any part of the body of an animal or any object into the vagina or penis or anus of another person; or(d)cunnilingus, fellatio or any other form of genital stimulation, but does not include contact, exposure, insertion or genital stimulation done by hand or any harmful object—(i)for sound health practices or proper medical purposes;(ii)for reasonably necessary body search by law enforcement agencies—(A)done for lawful purposes without putting in jeopardy the health and safety of the arrestee, suspect or the person who is being searched; and(B)not carried out abusively or for the purpose of humiliating or punishing an arrestee, suspect or the person who is being searched;
4. Territorial application
5. Double jeopardyA person cannot be tried or punished twice under the provisions of this Code for the same act or omission, except in the case where the act or omission is such that by means thereof he or she causes the death of another person, in which case he or she may be convicted of the offence of which he or she is guilty by reason of causing such death, notwithstanding that he or she has already been convicted of some other offence constituted by the act or omission.
Part II – General principles of criminal liability
6. Age of criminal responsibility
8. Involuntary acts
10. Negligence or recklessnessA person who causes harm to the person or property of another or exposes others to a risk of injury or death through negligence or recklessness commits an offence.
12. Ignorance of the law
13. MistakeA person who does or omits to do an act under an honestly held, but mistaken belief in the existence of a state of affairs, is not criminally responsible for the act or omission to any greater extent than if the real state of affairs had been as he or she believed them to be.
14. Claim of rightA person shall not be guilty of an offence relating to property if his or her act or omission in relation to that property was accompanied by a reasonably held belief that he or she was exercising a claim of right.
16. Sudden emergencySubject to the express provisions of this Code relating to acts done under coercion, provocation or self defence, a person acting or omitting to act in a sudden or extraordinary emergency shall not be held criminally liable for acts and omissions done or made in such circumstances, if his or her acts or omissions were such as would have been done or made by a reasonable person.
17. CompulsionA person who commits an offence as a result of a threat of immediate and serious bodily harm either to himself or herself or to a member of his or her immediate family shall not be liable if—
18. Superior orders
20. Self defence
21. Judicial immunityExcept as expressly provided by this Code, a judicial officer is not criminally responsible for any thing done or omitted to be done by him or her in good faith in the exercise of his or her judicial functions, although the act done is in excess of his or her judicial authority or although he or she is bound to do the act omitted to be done.
23. Counseling, procuring etc
24. Aiding and abetting
25. ConspiracyIf a person agrees with another person or persons that a course of conduct shall be pursued or joins such agreement which, if carried out in accordance with their intentions, either—
26. Shared intention or common purpose
27. Accessory after the factA person who assists another person who has completed the commission of an offence to escape arrest or apprehension commits the offence of being an accessory after the fact.
28. Offences by companies
Part III – Offences against the person
31. Aggravated assault
32. Lawful physical forceNo offence is committed by a person who applies reasonable physical force to another when this is necessary—
33. Risking injury or deathA person who intentionally and unlawfully subjects another or others to a risk of injury or death commits an offence.
35. PoisoningA person who unlawfully and with intent to injure another causes any poison or noxious substances to be administered to or consumed by the other person commits an offence.
36. SuicideNo offence is committed by a person who attempts to take his or her own life.
37. Counseling and assisting suicideSubject to any written law, a person who—
38. Culpable homicide resulting from suicide pact
39. Causation in homicide
40. Murder and extenuating circumstances
41. Culpable homicide
42. Provocation in murder and assault
43. InfanticideWhere a female person by any unlawful act or omission causes the death of a child to whom she gave birth within the previous six months, she will be presumed to have acted under the effects of childbirth, unless it can be shown to the contrary, and she shall not be convicted of murder but may be convicted of infanticide.
44. Concealment of childbirthA person who disposes of the dead body of a new-born child with intent to conceal the fact of its birth, whether the child died before, during, or after birth, commits an offence.
47. Unlawful detention
48. Indecency with children
49. Unlawful sexual intercourse with children
50. Sexual molestation of minorsAn adult who has sexual act with a child under the age of twelve years, whether or not such child consents, commits the offence of sexual molestation.
51. Indecent assault
52. Unlawful sexual act
56. Public indecency
Part IV – Offences against property
58. Wrongful application of funds
59. Aggravated theftA person commits aggravated theft if the property he or she steals is—
60. Things capable of being stolen
61. Unauthorised use
62. Misuse of property of another
63. Stock theft
64. RobberyA person who unlawfully uses or threatens to use violence to any person in order to steal or obtain property, or retain stolen property or to prevent or overcome resistance to its being recovered commits the offence of robbery.
66. Criminal trespassA person who gains uninvited entry into premises and refuses to leave when requested to do so, commits an offence of criminal trespass.
67. Receiving stolen property
69. ExtortionA person who uses a threat to another person with the intention of obtaining for himself or herself some advantage, whether of a proprietary nature or otherwise, to which he or she knows himself or herself not to be lawfully entitled, commits the offence of extortion.
71. False statementsA person who makes a false statement to any person having control of any official government register or register of a public body or private body dealing with members of the public, with intent that false information should be included in such a register, commits an offence.
72. Unlawful damage to propertyA person who, without lawful excuse, does any act with the intention of damaging property, even if singly or jointly owned or possessed, commits the offence of unlawful damage to property.
73. ArsonA person who, without lawful excuse, sets fire to immovable property even if singly or jointly owned or possessed, with the intention of causing damage to that property, commits an offence.
Part V – Offences against administration and public order
75. Failure to prevent or report treasonable conductA person who, knowing that another person intends or other persons intend to commit treason, does not give information thereof with all reasonable dispatch to the Government or law enforcement agencies or who does not use other reasonable endeavours to prevent the commission of treason commits an offence.
77. Respect for national flag and anthemA person who does any act in relation to the national flag and anthem which shows disrespect, contempt or irreverence, commits an offence.
78. Expression of hatred or contemptA person who utters any words or publishes any writing expressing hatred, ridicule or contempt for any person or group of persons, wholly or mainly, because of the person’s or group of persons’ race, ethnic affiliations, gender, disability or colour, commits of an offence.
79. Offences against the Royal Family
81. Corruption of agents and employeesA person who—
82. Insider trading
83. Going armed in publicA person who goes armed in public without lawful excuse and in such a manner as to cause terror to any other person commits an offence.
84. Breach of the peaceA person who, in a public place, uses obscene, abusive, threatening or insulting words or behaviour or otherwise conducts himself with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or in such a manner that a breach of the peace is committed or likely to be committed, commits an offence.
85. Provoking public violenceA person who, in any place acts or conducts himself or herself in such a manner or speaks or publishes such words from which there is a real likelihood that the natural and probable consequence of his or her act, conduct or speech or publication will under the circumstances lead to the commission of public violence by members of the public generally or by persons in whose presence the act or conduct takes place or to whom the speech or publication is addressed, commits an offence.
87. Obstruction of course of justice and officially constituted public enquiries
88. Disrespect for judicial proceedingsA person who, within the premises in which judicial proceedings or an officially constituted public enquiry is being conducted within the precincts of the same, shows disrespect in speech or conduct to or with reference to such proceedings or any person before whom such proceedings are being conducted, commits an offence.
89. Escape from lawful custodyA person who escapes from lawful custody or who assists another to escape from lawful custody, commits an offence.
90. Bringing judges etc. into disreputeA person who makes or publishes any statement which he or she knows or has reasonable grounds to suspect is untrue and is calculated to bring any judicial officer or court into disrepute, commits an offence.
91. Offences relating to drugs
Part VI – Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes
92. Jurisdiction in respect of offences under this Part
93. GenocideA person commits an offence of genocide if by his or her act or omission he or she commits any of the following acts with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, religious group or any other identifiable group—
94. Crimes against humanity
95. War crime
Part VII – Acts of terrorism and related offences
96. Offence of terrorismAny person who does or threatens or omits to do anything that is reasonably necessary to prevent an act which—
97. Harbouring terroristsAny person who harbours, or conceals, or causes to be harboured or concealed, any person whom he knew to have committed, or to have been convicted of, an act of terrorism, or against whom he or she knew that a warrant of arrest or imprisonment for such an act had been issued, commits an offence.
98. Information about acts of terrorism
99. Obstruction of terrorist investigation
Part VIII – Defamation and crimen injuria
101. Definition of defamatory matter"Defamatory matter" means matter likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him or her to hatred, contempt of ridicule, or likely to damage the person in his or her profession or trade by an injury to his or her reputation, and it is immaterial whether at the time of the publication of the defamatory matter the person concerning whom the matter is published is living or dead.
102. Definition of publication
103. Definition of unlawful publicationAny publication of defamatory matter concerning a person is unlawful within the meaning of this Part, unless—
104. DefamationA person who, by print, writing, painting or effigy, or by any means otherwise than solely by gesture, spoken words or other sounds, unlawfully publishes any defamatory matter concerning another person, with intent to defame that other person, commits an offence of defamation.
Part IX – Offences related to marriage
105. Cases in which publication of defamatory matter is conditionally privileged
106. Explanation as to good faithA publication of defamatory matter shall be deemed not to have been made in good faith by a person, within the meaning of section dealing with cases in which publication of defamatory matter is conditionally privileged, if it is made to appear either—
107. BigamyA person who unlawfully and intentionally enters what purports to be a lawful marriage ceremony with any person while lawfully married to another commits an offence of bigamy unless—
108. Marriage with dishonest or fraudulent intentA person who dishonestly or with fraudulent intention goes through a ceremony of marriage knowing that he or she is not lawfully married commits an offence.
Part X – Penalties
History of this document
Cited documents 1
Documents citing this one 4
- Lira John Ramaisa v The Director of Public Prosecutions and Others (CONSTITUTIONAL CASE 7 of 2013)  LSHC 1 (25 March 2014)
- Mokhosi and Others v Hungwe N.O. and Others (Cons Case 2 of 2019)  LSHC 1 (2 May 2019)
- Ntsu Nts'onyane v Motlatsi Thejane and Others (LC/APN 2013)  LSHC 11 (17 March 2017)
- R v Lejone (CRI/T 10 of 19)  LSHC 47 (29 October 2020)