78 Sexual Abuse cases against Children listed for Demerara Criminal Assizes

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167 cases are listed to be heard during this session of the High Court Criminal Assizes for the County of Demerara, which opened Today (Tuesday, June 06, 2017).

Among those cases, there are 31 persons to appear before the court for Murder while another ten persons listed to appear for Manslaughter.

It was noted that there is an alarming number of persons heading to Court for sexual abuse against a child.

According to the LIST OF CASES published in the Official Gazette, a total of 98 persons are slated to appear in Court for sexual related crimes. Of that 98, approximately 78 persons are specified to appear for Carnal Knowledge of girls under the age of 15 years, Buggery of children and Sexual Activity with a child family member.

In November 2016, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DDP), Shalimar Ali-Hack highlighted that there are more sexual offences being committed against children, based on the files sent to her on a daily basis.

“Under the Sexual Offences Act in relation to children, you find that more persons are having, and this is particularly males are engaging in sexual activity with children and the children are both females and males, but there are more females than males; based on the files coming. Not because the files have more females mean you don’t have as many males” she said.

She attributed this not only to the perpetrators of the crime but as a wider problem in “today’s society” since the act is sometimes condoned by others and the perpetrator is even protected; sometimes by the very family.

During the Criminal Law Term which opened in January 2017 for the County of Demerara, approximately 73 persons were slated to appear before the Court for rape and buggery with 60 of those cases being children. The total number of cases listed for the term was 140.

The second session which opened on April 04, 2017 listed 85 persons to appear in Court for Sexual offences out of 182. Almost of 65 out of the 85 cases involved victims under the age of 16.

While it is necessary for the Law of Guyana to be updated, it must be noted that the statutory limit of the Rights of the Child Commission has long expired.

The RCC, under the Constitution, was granted jurisdiction to investigate and resolve complaints that violate and omit the rights and interest of the child, ensuring that every child’s voice is heard on all levels in Guyana, under the Convention on Rights of The Child (UNCRC) Articles.

The body which should be re-appointed every three years was constituted in 2009.

From then, the members are Kaloutie Nauth; Yvonne Fox; Sarojanie Rambarran, Aleema Nasir; Colleen Anthony; Marissa Massiah; Michelle Kalamadeen; Suelle Findlay-Williams; Sandra Hooper; Rosemary Benjamin-Noble; Hyacinth Massay; Banmattie Ram; Shirley Ferguson; Vidyaratha Kissoon; and Kwame McCoy.

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