Sexual Offenses occupy bulk of cases of January Assizes

Sexual offenses continue to dominate the number of cases listed for the continued criminal assizes.

The January 2016 Assizes commenced last Tuesday with 134 cases on the cause list.
Crown Counsel Howard Pinnock who went through the list with Reporters indicated that 55 sexual offenses make up the bulk of matters on the cause list.

The matters consist of rape, carnal knowledge, incest, and indecent assault.

However, Pinnock noted that since Magistrates have the authority to conclude matters of indecent assault in their courts since 2012, there is now a steady decline in the number making its way to the high court.

According to the Crown Counsel, the alleged perpetrators of sexual offenses are either family members, friends of the family, or persons from the village.

He said it is very rare that the alleged perpetrator is a stranger to the victim.

Pinnock reported that since 2008 to the previous assizes of October 2015, there has been over 85 percent in the success rate of sexual convictions.

However, he quickly pointed out that State Prosecutors would not know the definite deterrent effect until the new sexual cases are dealt with.

Most of the sexual offenses addressed by the court would have been committed before 2012 when the maximum penalty was 15 years.

“Maybe a year, two years down the road when all of the offenses now committed after 2012, we will begin to see if there is any deterrent effect, because now we have more severe punishment (of 30 years),” Pinnock said.

The other matters making up the cause list are 18 offenses against property which includes forgery, stealing by reason of employment, and burglary; 16 non-fatal offences against the person that includes grievous harm, attempted murder and maiming; 14 homicides which includes ten murders, two manslaughter and the other two are causing death by dangerous driving; and four drug offences.

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