Impose mandatory life sentence on child rapists – Tambourine Army
Women’s rights advocacy group Tambourine Army says the law should be amended to impose a mandatory life sentence for the rape of a child.
Co-founder Nadeen Spence argued before the joint select committee of Parliament reviewing the Sexual Offences Act and related laws that stronger penalties are needed against sexual predators.
Spence also called for the offence of sexual intercourse with another person who is under the age of 16 years to be reclassified as the rape of a child or the rape of another person below the age of consent.
She said a mandatory life sentence should apply to persons convicted of committing this offence.
Tambourine Army co-founder also argued for jury trials in rape cases against children to be scrapped and replaced with a trial by a three-member panel of judges.
She said the group believes that a panel of judges will likely reduce undue influence over the course of justice against high profile offenders and offenders in positions of trust.
Spence is if the view that many Jamaicans view rape as “just a little sex” noting that the seriousness of the offence does not resonate with many jurors.
She cited a high profile case where a pastor was charged with the carnal abuse of a child but was acquitted in a jury trial despite DNA evidence that linked him to the incident.
Meanwhile, Spence urged lawmakers to make provisions in the law for the Sex Offenders Registry to be made accessible to the public on the Internet, in parish libraries, and at educational and care institutions.