BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – DESPITE the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s recent issuance of new Sentencing Guidelines that include Rape, a Pastor was given ‘a slap on the wrist’ for indecently assaulting a five-year-old boy.
News coming out of Grenada stated that many citizens of that island had turned to social media to expressed their disapproval of the sentence imposed on the Pastor.
For the Indecent Assault charge to which the Pastor pleaded guilty, he was fined EC$2,100.
According to NOW GRENADA, “The matter was heard on Wednesday [Oct. 16] and though the law provides for a maximum sentence of five years, the convict who was represented by lawyer Nigel Stewart did not receive jail time but was sentenced to pay a total fine of EC$2,100. Of that sum, EC$1,500 went to the state and EC$600 to be used by the victim for six therapy sessions.”
The media outlet also reported that following the trial, police had confirmed that the 24-year-old Pastor (name provided) had “left the state on Friday (Oct. 18) via an international flight from the Maurice Bishop International Airport on an aircraft bound for New York’s JFK International Airport”.
“He has already been served with the Notice of Appeal. Notwithstanding, he could not be stopped by the State from leaving,” the media outlet quoted a law enforcement officer as saying.
The media house said on the evening of the same day that the convicted Pastor left the island, the Ministry of Legal Affairs had issued a statement, which said that legislation for the registration of convicted sex offenders are among new legislative and administrative mechanisms being developed that would provide for the greater protection of children and other victims of sexual 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,” the media house quoted the Ministry’s statement which praised the Commissioner of Police for filing an appeal to review the sentence.
It further said: “Government is confident that the existing measures and others presently under consideration will foster greater effectiveness in the fight against sexual offences.”
It was explained that under the Rehabilitation Offenders law of that country, sexual offences are not among the crimes that would be expunged after a conviction.
NOW GRENADA further reported that on advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Acting Commissioner of Police had filed an appeal against the sentence imposed by Nevlyn John, the Magistrate in the Grenville Magistrate Court.
“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,” the statement from the Ministry of Legal Affairs read.
“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,” the statement added.
The media house explained that 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. However, indecent assault is not covered in the new sentencing guidelines which came into effective on October 1, 2019.