Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Charge murderers for killing foetus too

Published:Saturday | November 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE OFFICE of the Children's Advocate (OCA) is urging legislators to give support to a proposal for murderers of pregnant women to be prosecuted also for the death of the foetus.

Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison said the country has had some very painful incidents in the recent past in which women have been murdered and the foetus expires as a result.

"The law needs to provide a commensurate response to such heinous acts," she argued.

In 2012, the country was rocked by the killing of at least five pregnant women in September and October.

At present, the Offences Against the Person Act does not include a provision for holding persons culpable for the expiration of the foetus as a result of the killing of the mother.

Attempting to justify her recommendation, Gordon Harrison argued that "life begins at the point of conception and as such, a foetus represents another life that, if lost due to the deliberate action of another who intends to cause death or grievous bodily harm, that act ought to be punishable".

The children's advocate was making a presentation on Wednesday during a meeting of a joint select committee of Parliament reviewing the Sexual Offences Act, the Offences Against the Person Act, and related pieces of legislation.

The OCA head said if this offence is created and introduced in the law, a person convicted under these circumstances should face a greater penalty than that which murder by itself would attract.