'Differences' delayed Marco's law implementation

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

Attorney General Carl Bethel.


Tribune Staff Reporter


DIFFERENCES between the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of National Security prevented the full implementation of the Sexual Offences Act under the Christie administration, according to Attorney General Carl Bethel.

He told The Tribune the regulations for the Act, which includes provisions for a sexual offences register, will come into force this year "sometime after the budget period, depending on how fast we can achieve a workable consensus".

"I have only just received the draft regulations so I'm not aware of where the difficulty might have been yet," he said.

"We are reviewing the regulations. My understanding is that the hold up on the full implementation of Marco's Law was differences between OAG and MNS in the last administration. We are working to iron out any impediments to implementation."

Desire for the registry remerged after last week's revelation that two young girls were victims of sexual assault.

Some parents of children who frequent the Darling Street and Bailou Hill Road areas where the incidents occurred expressed shock and surprise that no registry exists in the Bahamas.

The Christie administration passed the Sexual Offences Act and the Child Protection Act in 2013, two years after the killing of 11-year-old Marco Archer, a tragedy that spurred calls for the registry.

Kofhe Goodman, convicted killer of Archer, had a history of predatory behaviour towards young boys dating back to the 1990s and many Bahamians believed that if a proper registry existed the child could have been protected.

Under the Sexual Offences Act, a person convicted of a specified offence can be exempt from a requirement to register or report to authorities if the conviction is for a first time offence; if the person is a child, if the sentence being imposed is of minimal severity or if the court is satisfied that the "effect of the imposition of such requirements on the offender, including how his privacy or liberty, would be grossly disproportionate to the public interest to be achieved by registering the offender as a sex offender."


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