Criminal Offence Act in Tonga

The Leiti Association (TLA), Tonga Youth Leaders (TYL) and Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) are partners in protecting the diversity of people’s lives in Tonga and the contribution that diversity can make to the overall development of the nation. They recognize the need to address discriminative laws and policies that cause harm to people’s lives and are calling for action by our leaders to address this and to put in place laws and policies that protect all the different classes in Tonga as is embedded in Clause 4 of our Constitution:


Same law for all classes

4. There shall be but one law in Tonga for chiefs and commoners for non-Tongans and Tongans. No laws shall be enacted for one class instead of the other, because all laws should be made and applied to all the people of this land.   


It is within the spirit of non-discrimination as stipulated in the Constitution of Tonga, that we call on other key stakeholders, both government and non-government, church and faith based groups, private sector and academic institutions to join TLA, TYL and WCCC in calling our leaders to action on the following key critical areas of concern;


  1. We call for an urgent review of discriminatory laws, particularly against women, children, person’s living with a disability and members of the LGBTQI community living in Tonga and men who are part of the people of this land.


In particular, we call for special attention on sections and clauses in the Criminal Offences Act of Tonga CAP 10.09 2016, which deals directly and discriminate the people of our country, especially to those that they are vulnerable when those sections apply in court. There were lots of cases that the Courts dealt directly with, and the decisions found to be very light in compare to the nature of the cases. So TLA, TYL and WCCC push for this call for action to ensure that these sections are not vague, unambitious and unclear for the interpretations of the officers of the Courts.

Criminal Offence Act #136 & #137

Section 136

Sodomy & Bestiality 

Who ever shall convicted of the crime of sodomy with another person or bestiality with any animal shall be liable ath the discretion of the Court to be imprisoned for any period not exceeding ten years and such animal shall be killed by a public officer

(Subtituted by Act 9 of 1987)


Section 137

Assult with intent to Commit Adultry 

It is an offence for a person to assault another person with intent to commit sodomy. (Inserted by Act 9 of 1987.)

Crime Offence Act # 81

Section 81 (5) - (6)

Trading in Prostitution 

(5) Any male person who, whilst soliciting for an immoral purpose, in a public place with intent to deceive any other person as to his true sex, has on or about his person any article intended by him to represent that he is a female or in any other way impersonates or represents himself to be a female shall be guilty of an offence and shall upon conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding $100 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such imprisonment and such fine. (Inserted by Act 19 of 1978.)

(6) A police officer may arrest without a warrant a person found committing an offence under this section. (Inserted by Act 9 of 1987.)

Criminal Offence Act #118 & #140

Section 118


(1) Any person committing rape that is to say any person who carnally knows any female

 (a) against her will, or

(b) being aware that she is in a state of insensibility (whether due to sleep, intoxication or any other cause), or

(c) being aware that she is feeble minded, insane or is an idiot or imbecile as to be incapable of giving or refusing consent; or (Substituted by Act 9 of 1987.)

(d) by personating her husband, or

(e) by reason of her consent to such carnal knowledge having been given under fear of death or serious injury, shall be liable to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 15 years.

(2) Sexual intercourse by a man with his wife shall not be deemed rape unless consent to such sexual intercourse has been withdrawn through process of law. (Inserted by Act 9 of 1987.)

(3) For purposes of sub-section (1) a man commits rape if at the time of sexual intercourse with a woman he knows that she does not consent to the intercourse or he is reckless as to whether she consents to it. (Inserted by Act 9 of 1987.)

(4) It is hereby declared that if at a trial for a rape offence the jury has to consider whether a man believed that a woman was consenting to sexual intercourse, the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for such a belief is a matter for which the jury is to have regard in conjunction with any other relevant matters in considering whether he so believes. (Inserted by Act 9 of 1987.) Section 119 CAP. 18 Criminal O

(5) A prosecution may be instituted against a woman as an aider and abetter in respect of an offence under sub-section (1). (Inserted by Act 9 of 1987.)

Section 140

Evidence Rape

On the trial of any person upon a charge of sodomy or carnal knowledge it shall not be necessary to prove the actual emission of seed but the offence shall be deemed complete on proof of penetration only.

Criminal Offence Act #121, #122, #123

Section 121

Carnal Knowledge of child or young person

Any person who carnally knows any girl under the age of 12 years shall be liable on conviction thereof to imprisonment for any period not exceeding life.

Section 122

Attemp to have a Carnal Knowledge of a child or young person

Any person who attempts to have carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 12 years shall be liable on conviction thereof to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 10 years.


Section 123

Consent and Belief at to age no defence 

It shall be no defence to any charge under section 121 or 122 to prove that the girl consented to the act or that the person reasonably believed that the girl was of or above the age of 12 years.

Criminal Offence Act #100

Section 100


Every person who attempts to commit suicide shall be liable to imprisonment for any period not exceeding 3 years.