Bermuda Beach Attire

As the French currently debate the appropriateness of certain types of beach attire on public beaches(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/28/french-mayors-burkini-ban-court-ruling, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/18/french-naturist-resort-becomes-latest-to-ban-burkinis/, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/burkini-ban-french-france-court-suspends-rule-law-forbidding-swimwear-worn-muslim-women-seriously-a7211396.html), it is worth pointing out that topless and nude sunbathing is still illegal in public in Bermuda, but there are currently no prohibitions on the wearing of ‘Burqinis’.

The primary criminal offences relating to topless and nude sunbathing in Bermuda are found in:

  • the Summary Offences Act 1926 (which prohibits appearing in highways or thoroughfares “improperly or indecently dressed”);
  • the Public Lands Act 1984 with the Bermuda Park Regulations 1958 (which prohibits appearing in a park “improperly or indecently dressed”); and
  • certain Hamilton and St.George’s city Ordinances made under the Municipalities Act 1923 (which prohibit any person appearing in certain parts of Hamilton or St. George’s “improperly or indecently dressed or openly expos[ing] his person”).

The last recorded episode of Bermuda beach nakedness appears to have resulted in a conditional discharge (and much embarrassment): http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20140804/NEWS/140809944

It is hard to imagine a ‘Burqini’ ban surviving a constitutional challenge before a Bermuda Court, if such a ban were ever to be introduced. But as swimwear becomes increasingly risqué, it is probably only a matter of time before the Bermuda Court has to consider the true meaning and effect of the words “improperly or indecently dressed“.

 

 

 

 

 

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