No bail for rapists, sexual offenders - advocates say

November 28, 2017
Glenda Simms

Human rights advocate Dr Glenda Simms wants National Security Minister, Robert Montague, to extend his 'no bail' proposal to include rapists and other sexual offenders.

At the Jamaica Labour Party conference on Sunday, Montague said that he would shortly bring to Parliament legislation to deny bail to individuals charged with gun crimes.

"I am not a lawyer, but if it is possible for the legal system to accommodate that position, then it should not only be for murder but also rape," Simms told THE STAR.

She added that it should include sexual abuse of girls and women as both murder and rape are serious crimes.

"Rape is a killing weapon. You don't have to die, but you lose something very significant ... you lose a lot especially when children have been abused," she said.

 

Constitutional right

 

Feminist Nadeen Spence agreed somewhat with Simms, but said that it is dependent on the extent of the offence.

"It can't be, if you are charged with murder, you are denied bail. I think that being denied bail is against the constitutional right because you are innocent until proven guilty," she said.

But she added that under certain conditions, she agreed that a person must be denied bail.

"If the person is an habitual offender, they should be denied bail. For rape, it depends on what are the aggravating circumstances," she said.

Other reasons to deny bail for Spence include if someone is alleged to have sexually abused a child or if a person on bail commits a similar offence to what he/she is charged with.

She told THE STAR that she thinks a decision like this "should also be something that is left up to the judge, depending on the circumstances."

Spence suggested that Holness should not make hasty decisions without consulting other persons on the law.

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