Disturbing Religious Worship

Disturbing Religious Worship

Disturbing Religious Worship is when someone upsets people gathered for religious reasons. It could also be if someone assaults the person leading the worship.
disturbing religious worship
  • Some people run into a Mosque during Friday prayers and begin to yell insults to the worshippers
  • Someone punches a Catholic priest during Mass

  • You did not disturb anyone
  • You did not wilfully disturb any religious worship
  • You have a lawful justification or excuse
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions that are asked in cases like this:
  • What are they saying actually happened?
  • Did you have a lawful excuse?

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for the offence of Disturbing Religious Worship (s21 of the Summary Offences Act 1966)  is 15 penalty units or imprisonment for three months.

Disturbing religious worship is a case that would be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

What is the legal definition of Disturbing Religious Worship?
Wilfully, and without lawful justification or excuse, disquieting or disturbing religious worship. Or assaulting a person lawfully officiating the religious worship.

“Did you disturb any religious worship?”

The Law
The section that covers this offence is section 21 of the Summary Offences Act 1966.
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
You are most likely to receive a fine if found guilty of this offence.