ROSEAU –– Police public relations officer ASP Claude Weekes is of the opinion some kind of amendment to the Sexual Offences Act must be made after a matter of unlawful sexual act came to an abrupt end in the court yesterday when the victim and her mother said they were not interested in giving evidence.
Because of that, a verdict of not guilty was handed down and the accused is now a free man.
The alleged incident took place in Calibishie in December, 2013, when the child was 12 years old.
Weekes explained that the matter was in its final stages when the victim announced in court she did not want to proceed. Her mother echoed the same, indicating to the court that she was not bribed.
Weekes stated such situations were frustrating to the entire system.
“So it really frustrates the effort, when these things happen, of the whole system,” he stated.
He believes that the Sexual Offences Act must be given another look.
“Probably the call for some kind of amendment to the Sexual Offences Act; this is something that has to be looked at,” Weekes opined.
The clearly upset Weekes said the matter was “very serious”.
“I think surely, somehow, some way, we all have to answer to that; not only as the accused but even as a nation,” he stated. “All I can say is these crimes are evil. It’s nasty, it’s abominable and it’s diabolic and parents, particularly when you do those things, I can safely say you are prostituting your children, you are allowing your children to become nervous wrecks, to become dysfunctional; and if we all continue like that, we might have a dysfunctional country as well.”
He continued: “So really and truly the human capital, the primary asset of a country, and including Dominica, would be its youth that we always say is the future. But if there is no way to protect them, some kind of mechanism, safety gap, it means therefore down the road in Dominica you have to ask yourself what the future is going to be like. So we have to protect our children.”
Despite this, Weekes said the police remain undaunted.
“We will not be daunted by that,” he noted. “We have our work to do; and that is the prevention of crime, the protection of lives and property. So we will continue to go all out; we will not be deflated or demotivated by the fact that that has happened; but that gives us the momentum and the verve to continue to execute
He also pointed out that the age of consent, which is 16 in Dominica, had to be looked at.