A SCHOOL teacher is currently on remand awaiting trial in a sexual matter that allegedly took place 17 years ago when the complainant was a minor.
The matter is set to come up for a court hearing on the 24th of next month.
The details surrounding this case are vague as investigators are not forthcoming with information citing section 138 of the Criminal Code of St. Lucia that speaks to the anonymity of complainant and accused.
According to that particular section of the Code after a person is charged with an offence under this Sub-Part, any matter that is likely to lead members of the public to identify a person as the complainant or as the accused in relation to that charge shall not be published in a written publication or be broadcast in this State except-
(A) If, on application of the complainant or the accused, the court directs that the effect of the restriction is to imposed a substantial and unreasonable restriction on the reporting of proceedings and that it is in the public interest to move the restriction in respect of the applicant, or-
(B) In the case of the accused, after the person has been tried and convicted of the offence.
The Code makes it clear that a person who publishes or broadcasts any matter in contravention of subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $50,000 and to imprisonment for three years.
By ‘a person’ the Criminal Code is actually referring to a publication in a newspaper or periodical, any proprietor, editor or publisher of the newspaper or periodical and any other publication.
The Criminal Code defines ‘accused’ to mean a person named in an information alleging that the person has committed the offence or a person who appears before a court charged with the offence. And by ‘complainant’ the Code means in relation to a person accused of an offence includes the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed.
The VOICE learned that the affair involving the teacher and the minor took place in 2001. Two charges of sex with a minor were lodged against the teacher.
The Police Press Relations Department, Thursday quoted Section 671 of the Criminal Code that addresses the period of limitation noting that for the removal of doubt and despite any other provisions to the contrary, the Code states that there shall be no period of limitation in relation to the offences of rape or any other sexual offence, any sexual offence involving a minor and murder.
A brief look at the most serious sexual offences for last year indicates that rape cases decreased in 2017 by six when compared to the previous period 2016 where 44 cases were recorded. That was the highest number of accepted rape cases throughout five years, 2013 to 2017.
There was a detection rate of 39% for last year, just four percent more than the lowest detection rate recorded in 2013. The year, 2014 accounted for the highest number of cases of Unlawful Sexual Connection – a total of 23 cases. The year 2015 recorded the highest detection rate of 73%. Despite fewer accepted cases in 2013, and the same number of cases in 2014 and 2015, the detection rates fell below the 73% experienced in 2015. Sexual Intercourse with a person under twelve years recorded fewer cases from 14 in 2016 to nine in 2017.
There was a 29% detection rate in 2016, compared to a 44% detection rate in 2017. Sexual Intercourse with a person between twelve and sixteen years realised an increase in 2017 of41 cases. There were 19 cases recorded in 2016. Indecent Assault recorded a slight decrease from 66 cases in 2016 to48 in 2017.