By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A JUDGE ruled yesterday that a man who admitted to sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl on multiple occasions would be added to the proposed sexual offenders register if legislation to create one is enacted by the time he completes his five-year sentence for the crime.
Justice Carolita Bethell noted that the promised legislation had yet to be enacted to make a sex offenders list a reality, however, she said, 39-year-old Evans Jean-Gilles would be on the list in the event that the bill is made law.
Jean-Gilles’ sentence for sexual assault of the child between August 1 and November 2013 was due to a plea deal between his lawyer and the Crown that was authorised by the attorney general.
While a conviction for the sexual assault of a minor normally carries a prison term of seven years for the first conviction and 14 years for a subsequent conviction, the court has the discretion to impose a stiffer penalty if the circumstances of the case merit a longer sentence.
The discretion, however, is restricted if a signed plea agreement exists between the Crown and lawyers for an accused that pleaded guilty to an offence in exchange for a mutually agreed sentence.
Jean-Gilles yesterday said he was sorry for what he did to the child. His lawyer, Calvin Seymour, said his client, being a father himself of two daughters, acknowledges that he made a terrible mistake that would not be repeated.
Justice Bethell told the 39 year old that the sentence he received “was light” but he had saved the court time and the complainant from reliving the experience by pleading guilty.
The judge also suggested that his actions were clear evidence that he needed mental help.
The call for the establishment of a sex offenders register came following the disappearance of Marco Archer in September 2011 who had been missing for several days before his lifeless body was found.
At the time of his disappearance, the boy’s family complained that police did not act quickly enough. They said police reportedly told them they had to wait 24 hours before investigating.
In late 2013, the House of Assembly began debate on amendments to the Sexual Offences Act and the Child Protection Act, which would respectively create a sexual offenders register and a MARCO alert for missing children.
Proposed regulations were presented in Parliament last month that will govern which cases will prompt the activation of the MARCO Alert.
The commissioner of police will be required to use the MARCO alert if a child is reported missing and authorities are satisfied that there is a risk of harm or death.
Once the alert is issued, radio stations, television broadcasts, text message, electronic network system, billboards and other means necessary will be used for dissemination.
The sexual offenders register would place all persons who are convicted of sexual offences on the proposed list.