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Sex crimes

Friday, February 19, 2016

(Parental Warning: Contains some adult language)

During the recent Carnival period, various sex crimes may have been committed though it is not confined to such festive season only. Sex crimes are no doubt serious crimes that carry stiff penalties as shown below. 

Last week, we examined those pertaining to young people. It is important that everyone is aware of these and take the necessary preventative and post-event action. Reference is made to Act No 27 of 1986 and amended in 1994 and 2000.

1. Rape:

What is rape? This is where there is sexual intercourse without the consent of the victim. Here, the rapist knows that the rape victim does not consent to the intercourse or the rapist is reckless as to whether the victim consents to intercourse. Also, rape takes place where the consent by the victim is extorted by threat or fear of bodily harm to the victim or to another person. Rape also occurs where consent is obtained by personating someone else or by false or fraudulent representation as to the nature of the intercourse or by unlawfully detaining the complainant.

Imprisonment for life—that’s the punishment for rape! Other punishment may be imposed as shown below.

Imprisonment for the remainder of a rapist’s natural life is the punishment under four conditions: a. If the victim is under 12 years old; b. If the offence is committed by 2 or more persons acting in concert or with the assistance or in the presence of a third person; c. If the victim was pregnant at the time of the offence and the accused knows this; d. If the accused had previous conviction(s) of rape. 

The court may also order a convicted rapist to pay the victim adequate compensation which shall be a charge on his property. And, a husband can also be convicted for the rape of his wife. This also applies to cohabitational relationships. 

2. Grievous 

sexual assault:

This sex crime takes place in similar conditions as rape with regard to lack of consent, or consent under threat, consent by personating, fraud representations, or unlawful detainment. This can be committed by an accused or a third person. Again, this can take place by a husband or in a cohabitational relationship.

3. Serious indecency:

This is an act other than sexual intercourse by a person involving the use of the genital organ for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire. If Serious Indecency is committed on or towards a minor under 16 years old, for the first offence, the punishment is 10 years imprisonment, and 15 years imprisonment for subsequent offences. If Serious Indecency is committed on or towards a person 16 years and older, the punishment is five years imprisonment.

4. Buggery:

Buggery is sexual intercourse per anum and takes place under two conditions: by a male person with another male person and by a male person with a female person. If buggery is committed by an adult (18 years and older) on a minor (under 18 years), the punishment is life imprisonment. If committed by an adult on another adult, the punishment is 25 years imprisonment. If committed by a minor, the punishment is five years imprisonment.

5. Sexual intercourse with mentally 

subnormal person:

A mentally subnormal person is one who is in a state of arrested or incomplete development of the mind. This includes a significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning and is associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned.

Where a person under circumstances that do not amount to rape has sexual intercourse with another who is mentally subnormal and who is not the person’s spouse, he is liable to imprisonment for 25 years.

6. Bestiality:

This is sexual intercourse per anum or per vaginam by a male or female person with an animal. If convicted, the punishment is 25 years imprisonment. 

7. Notification 

of sex offenders:

The law also makes provisions for people convicted and sentenced for sex crimes to notify the local police of their contact information, whereabouts, etc and failure to do so as prescribed carries fines and imprisonment. 

8. Mandatory medical evaluation of sex 


There are also provisions in law where a sex offender shall be medically examined for HIV and other communicable diseases. If the victim contracted such diseases from the offender, the offender can be ordered to pay compensation. 

In addition to the prosecution of offenders, a range of people requires timely assistance by trained personnel to heal deep wounds. These include the victim and offender as well as families and close friends of both sides. More public education and training programmes are needed in identifying and dealing with such crimes.

n Contact the Caribbean Institute for Security and Public Safety at 223-6999,

222-8347, [email protected] or for almost 100 courses on law enforcement, corporate security, OSH/HSE, supervision and management courses, etc. for companies and individuals.


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