The increase of the maximum penalty for unlawful sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 13 years old from 14 years jail term to life imprisonment is now effective as of yesterday afternoon after the gazetting of the amendment of the Penal Code Act [CAP 135]. Ten amendments all increasing penalties for sex related and assault offences, as per a 2016 Council of Ministers’ decision, targets the strengthening of the purpose of the Penal Code in providing deterrence, aiming towards individual deterrence of specific offender. State Law Office gazetted the amendments yesterday afternoon after Minister of Justice and Community Services, Ronald Warsal, issued an instruction to proceed yesterday morning.

The amendments include the increase for the offence of abduction under any age from 10 to not exceeding 12 years imprisonment in Penal Code Act [CAP 135] section 92.

A new section was also inserted in Section 92 to deal with the abduction of girls under the age of 18 years and provides for a maximum penalty of 7 years.

The gazetted third item amends subsection 95 (2) of the Act by increasing the penalty for the offence of incest being sexual intercourse between parents and child under paragraph 95 (1)(a), (b) or (c), and subsection 95 (2) from 10 years to a term not exceeding 15 years imprisonment.

Six additional subsections (4), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (9) were added to subsection 95 (3).

“Subsection (4) provides for a person not to commit incest consensually with a person over 16 years old and subsection (5) provides for the penalty of 15 years imprisonment if that offense is committed.

“Subsection (6) provides that a person must not commit incest without consent with a person over 16 years old and subsection (7) provides the penalty of 20 years imprisonment if that offence is committed.

“Subsection (8) provides that a person must not commit incest with a person over 16 years and subsection (9) provides the penalty of life imprisonment if that offence is committed.”

The penalty of sexual intercourse with any child under the age of 13 in subsection 97(1) of the Act has the largest increase from 14 years to life imprisonment. READ MORE


SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST