The Ministry of Legal Affairs has noted the concern being expressed by some Grenadians regarding the outcome of a recent matter involving a sex offender which was heard in the Grenville Magistrate Court.
Information from the court has revealed that a 24-year-old man alleged to be a pastor, was charged summarily (Magistrate’s Court), and pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a five-year-old child. He was fined EC$1,500 and ordered to pay the medical expenses incurred by the family. No prison term was imposed.
Today we were advised that the Commissioner of Police, on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions, has filed an appeal against the sentence imposed by the magistrate. The essence of that appeal is that the sentence imposed is manifestly inadequate having regards to the circumstances of the case and the present legislation. Pursuant to the Criminal Code, the offence of indecent assault carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
This matter highlights the issue of sexual offences in Grenada against children and the need to ensure that existing laws indeed achieve the objective of deterring such offences and to protect the vulnerable in our society.
In 2012, after a consultative process with civil society, various provisions relating to sexual offences in the Criminal Code were amended to increase the penalties for those offences.
Presently, the Attorney General’s office, in consultation with various stakeholders including the Ministers of Legal Affairs and Social Development, is actively developing various administrative and legislative mechanisms to provide greater protection for children and other victims of sexual offences.
We are also working on a draft Bill relating to the Registration of Sexual Offenders which is being considered by various stakeholders in preparation of it being submitted to Parliament.
Government is confident that the existing measures and others presently under consideration, will foster greater effectiveness in the fight against sexual offences.
Ministry of Legal Affairs