by Linda Straker
- Senate President wants review of penalties for sexual offences
- Approves flogging as a disciplinary measure
- In 2012 Grenada amended sections of the criminal code to provide for longer imprisonment
Six years after amendments were made to the criminal code for increased prison time for those convicted of sexual-related offences, Chester Humphrey, President of Senate believes that the penalties for sexual offences are too lenient. He wants to see a review that will provide for tighter and tougher penalties.
In his wrapup statement following the conclusion of the 2019 Budget debate in the Senate last week Thursday, Humphrey told the 13-member House that he wants to see a tightening of sexual offences legislation that will see perpetrators receiving longer prison time.
“I think the legislation is too lenient, quite frankly too lenient! People are committing sexual crimes against children and they are getting seven years in jail with time served, what’s happening to us?” he asked the members.
“There was a murder of an 8-year-old after which she was sexually assaulted.” He expressed his disbelief at the level of leniency that has become commonplace in the justice system. “As legislators, we have a duty to tighten the laws, we have a duty to tighten the punishment that is meted out, to send the message that this kind of behaviour is not accepted,” he said.
Recalling memories of his youth and the influence of the justice system back then, Humphrey said that comparing his youth to present day, the justice system brings delays and uncertainty. “Compare colonial times to now, when I grew up there were about 2 murders. When I grew up if you were found guilty of rape, you were flogged with the cat-o-nine tail; you were found guilty of murder you were hung. Justice was swift, certain and predictable,” said Humphrey who had earlier indicated his approval to flogging as a disciplinary measure.
“How do you murder someone because they step on your slippers? How do you rape and murder a 7 or 8-year-old? Something is wrong, and we have to take the necessary steps to bring back balance,” he told the members.
In 2012 Grenada amended sections of the criminal code that provides for persons who are found guilty of sex-related offences to receives more imprisonment. The amendments include but are not limited to providing for more imprisonment for those convicted of rape, sexual assault, indecent assault, defiling of males or females under the age of 13.
According to the amendments, a person who has sexual intercourse with another person who is under the age of 13 years, whether with or without the other person’s consent, commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 30 years. The maximum penalty for such an offence was 15 years.Chester Humphrey, President of Senate, believes that the penalties for sexual offences are too lenient. He wants to see a review that will provide for tighter and tougher penalties.