Friday, April 12, 2024

Buggery laws struck down by Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court of Barbados has ruled that Sections 9 and 12 of the Sexual Offences Act which criminalise buggery and serious indecency are null and void.

On Monday, Justice Michelle Weekes handed down the decision, which now follows similar rulings in Antigua and Barbuda, and St Kitts and Nevis.

This means people can no longer be charged under these two sections.

The Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) and Equals, which are challenging these laws across the region, welcomed the move.

“We are very pleased with the result of this case, which is a result of years of advocacy efforts by the community organisations as well as the litigants,” says Michael Rapley,  of Equals.

“This is a step in the right direction for the protection of LGBTQ+ people in Barbados as we continue to ensure stigma-free access to services and positive inclusion in society.”

The other claimants were René Holder-McLean Ramirez and Raven Gill.

The latter, founder of Butterfly Barbados, said this was the “continuation of visible, monumental and transformative work, to remove misleading ideas about the LGBTQ community in Barbados and across the Caribbean”.

Attorney General Dale Marshall said Government was aware of the decision. He told Starcom Network while he expected the ruling as it was occurring across the Caribbean, it posed another concern.

“I do have some immediate concerns in relation to the striking down of the offences created in section 12 since that section concerns, among other things, indecent sexual conduct with minors. I am awaiting the perfected order and also the written decision of Justice Weekes and unfortunately, that decision will not be available until early in the New Year, but when we see the written decision, we would then we able to analyse her legal reasoning and make a decision on whether we appeal or not,” he said. (PR/SAT)

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