I am inspector Junior Simmons, head of the Public Relations and Complaints Department of the Royal St. Vincent and The Grenadines Police Force.
I have listened to your discourse on the press release that was issued by the department on 8.10.2018 which included among other reports a report of rape. I wish to respond to the two “major” issues that were first highlighted by you then commented on by other persons in the thread.
The first issue that you raised had to do with the structure of the release relative to that particular report concerning the phrase “an unknown named man”. This was definitely an oversight on our part.
The second issue that was highlighted was why the police recorded a report of rape instead of unlawful intercourse with a girl under the age of 15 years. Please allow me to explain. Section 124 CAP 171 of the laws of SVG Rev. Ed. 2009 states “any man who has sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13 is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life”.
Alternatively, section 125 of the aforementioned laws states “any man who has sexual intercourse with a girl above the age of 13 but below the age of 15 is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for 5 years…” – there are other ingredients but they may not be applicable to this particular discussion so forgive me for not listing them.
Conversely, Section 123 (1) the same laws states the following: “a man who rapes a woman is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life; sub-section (2) further states “a man commits rape if (a) he has unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman who at the time of the intercourse did not consent to it and (b) at the time he knew that she did not consent to the intercourse or he was reckless as to whether she consented or not”
Now based on sections 123 and 124, a girl under the age of 15 years cannot consent to have sex. In this particular case (Without prejudicing it because it is sub-judicae) the victim is under the age of 15 years and clearly cannot give consent; and that was the gravamen of your argument- which I must admit has merit.
On the face of it, anyone who read the release and saw the age of the victim would have proffered the same argument as you and others did. But here is the reason and logic why a report of rape and not unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (girl under the age of 15 years) was recorded.
Although there is a specific provision in the criminal code dealing with unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl 13 and above but under 15, it does not preclude the state from charging a person for rape (123) where the is 13 or about but under 15.
Moreover, one of the reasons why the statutory rape provisions were enacted is to address a situation where a child ostensibly consents to sex (they may agree to have sex or want to have sex). The laws were developed to protect them from predators and even from themselves. It therefore provided that children under a certain age cannot in law give consent.
However, as previously outlined in the case of 125, it provides a penalty of 5 years imprisonment if the perpetrator is found guilty. This penalty is not sufficient to meet the needs of justice in this particular case (given the circumstances which I cannot go into).
In this case there is not even ostensible consent – it’s a case of downright rape. Therefore it calls for a charge that carries a penalty that would reflect the gravity of what transpired. Thank you for your comments and I hope this missive will bring clarity on the issues raised by you.