by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Political leader of Grenada Empowerment Movement (GEM) staged a protest and petition signing
- Petition demands to strengthen our laws against sexual predators, implement a sex offender registry and therapy
What is being described as a slap on the wrist ruling to Treverson Roberts who was charged and pleaded guilty to indecent assault against a minor, continues to spark outrage in the public domain.
According to reports, Roberts pleaded guilty to indecent assault in the Grenville Magistrate Court after a mother reported him to police for forcing her five-year-old son to perform oral sex on him.
Roberts was sentenced to pay a fine of $1,500 to the State of Grenada and $600 to the family of the child as compensation for medical expenses. The maximum sentence for the charge of indecent assault is five years imprisonment.
This prompted Earl J Maitland, political leader of Grenada Empowerment Movement (GEM) to stage a protest and petition signing on Tuesday which garnered approximately 400 signatures. He was accompanied by youth activist Ian Thomas and businesswoman Rolanda Mc Queen who actively engaged with the motoring public soliciting their support in the fight to curb the plague of child sexual predators. The petition demands strengthening our laws against sexual predators, implementing a sex offender registry and therapy according to international standards.
Since this unfortunate incident, the Commissioner of Police (COP) is said to have acted on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to appeal the leniency of the sentence. Although welcoming the move by the COP, Maitland is of the view that there are still many unanswered questions and has put forward the following:
- What guideline(s)/ precedent(s) has/have Grenadian magistrates used in the past to sentence predators who are convicted of indecent assault?
- Has the Attorney General’s office only now become aware that sentencing guidelines for indecent assault are needed?
- What is the Attorney General’s office doing besides “hoping” to ensure the said committee produces this very relevant document?
- Is Grenada going to continue fining child predators the same amount as they would a bus driver who has unpaid traffic tickets? Is the state advising us that the two (indecent assault and unpaid tickets) are in the same realm?
Maitland commended the COP and the DPP for their taking the bold step to have the ruling reviewed, and stated that this is a sad state of affairs for Grenada regarding the protection of the nation’s children.
“Most recently, talks of magistrates’ rulings on two separate court cases, just months apart, have been circulating our nation and the wider world. Two convicted sexual predators continue to walk freely as they have been merely fined a ridiculously low amount of monies. Their victims, a three-year-old baby girl and the other, a five-year-old baby boy. Men, women, and children of all ages have expressed their disgust, dissatisfaction, disbelief, anger, empathy and fear on various platforms, which I was made to understand, according to a news article is what prompted the DPP to order the COP to launch an appeal. Let us take this very moment to commend all who refuse to remain silent on these particular matters, as silence is very welcoming to child predators and it ensures judicial office neglect of victims.”
Maitland said he is also baffled as to why Grenada’s sentencing guidelines do not specifically speak to indecent assault.
“It is an indisputable fact that the number of “reported” sexual attacks on our children has increased over the past few years. The entire nation is now aware. I find it incredibly disturbing that persons who are being paid to know to seem very irresponsible in their execution of duty. According to one local news station, Grenada’s Attorney General on Tuesday 22 October 2019, only days after our rude awakening, stated that “though there are sentencing guidelines for magistrates, none of them are specific to indecent assault on minors…” Ramdhani also used the platform to speak of a sentencing guideline committee who has been working for more than a year but only recently produced several guidelines for several offences. According to him, “the offences which they tackle, in the sexual offence arena are the offences of rape and unlawful carnal knowledge.” As his conversation went on, with no comfort nor assurance to the people of Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique, he stated that the court has made it very clear that they have not provided guidelines for indecent assault but rather working on it and that he is hoping they conclude their work on it so it can be sorted out rather quickly.”
Meanwhile, the petition will be posted on GEM’s Facebook page to allow for more people to sign on. Maitland also indicated that further action will be taken and escalated if need be.