Attorney calls for changes to criminal procedure law
Attorney-at-Law Jerry Edwin is calling for a change in the Criminal Procedure law so that when a young female under the age of consent, entices a male to engage in sexual conduct with her that the young man will not be held liable for the sexual consent act.
The American-trained Edwin is appearing as the Legal Counsel for 20-year-old Carl Williams, who is facing two (2) indictable charges of Sexual Intercourse with a Minor.
The attorney made the statement in an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper on Tuesday after appearing in a court matter at the Gouyave Magistrate’s Court to represent Williams.
The young Farmer from the village of Saab in St. Andrew is accused of having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl on two (2) occasions between November 2018 and January 2019 at her home in St. John.
According to an informed source, the victim and the accused who was 19 years old at the time, were engaged in a romantic relationship and often communicated on the Social media platform for about nine (8) months prior to the court matter.
The source said: “The victim invited the now accused man to her home while her mother was not at home and providing directions on both occasions but things took a different turn after the accused lent the young lady his cellular phone upon her request so that they can communicate on social media when they are apart after her means of communication was taken away from her.
“The girl’s mother went through the phone and that’s when the problem started and court action was brought against him,” he added.
Attorney Edwin noted that the Criminal Code forbids sex with a minor under the age of 16.
He said the young lady led Williams into believing that she had attained the age of 16 to take part in the sexual intercourse.
“The sex act was admittedly performed on both sides,” Attorney Edwin disclosed, pointing out that neither his client nor the victim has denied the occurrence.
“Carl Williams believed, based on information he was given by the young lady that she was of age to give consent, which is 16-years old and it turns out that he was wrong and for his error, his life is put in serious jeopardy.
“These crimes are what I call strict liability crimes because there is no defense in the law for having sex with a girl who is under 16. We are in an environment now where sexual maturity is occurring at a younger and younger age for both boys and girls.
“We are faced with a crisis where sexual awareness, lack of sexual education, promiscuity is fueled by technology and young people whose hormones are raging animated by online pornography, lewd music and images…these are forces that were never at play in the lives of older people.
“We had community consensus about behaviour (and) that is essentially missing (because) parents are younger (now) and parents and their children go to the same parties, listen to the same music and have the same conversations.
Attorney Edwin expressed the view that “in such an environment the barriers that are necessary to make the transition from teenagers into adulthood do not exist.
He also bemoaned the fact that there are serious resource challenges as the Ministry of Social Services and the Child Protection Authority (CPA) do not have the resources to cope with the problem.
“We have to put our resources in our people and I am saying young people are crying out for help,” he declared.
Attorney Edwin pointed out that “Grenada leads the Eastern Caribbean in sexual assault cases,” adding that “the lesson coming out of all these cases is that (for) young people, the joy of courting is probably gone and so before you talk to a young lady, before you put your hormones at risk, you have to check IDs because in Mr. Williams’ case, he believed because he was told that the young victim was 16-years-old therefore willing to give consent”.
“The signal lesson that we must take now from these cases and I think that Social Services (and) our schools should actually take this lesson and this message out to young people, especially, our young men (that) before you date someone and discuss any level of intimacy, check the ID (and) speak to the parents. Let the parents of the girl meet you.”
The attorney believes that “this is the kind of caution that must be taken by our young men or else Richmond Hill (Prison) will be flooded with young men and in some cases young women who do not understand the jeopardy they are putting themselves in.”
Edwin told THE NEW TODAY that he has indicated to the Police Prosecution that society will not be served and no one wins if these two lives are destroyed and will be seeking to have the charges reduced to summary instead of indictable.
The 20-year-old who was placed on $20, 000.00 bail with one surety made his first court appearance on Tuesday before Magistrate Teddy St. Louis at the Gouyave Magistrate’s Court.
Williams is due back in court on March 26.