Life Imprisonment

Parliament will be discussing an amendment to the Penal Code Act, to introduce life imprisonment. Photo: http://www.nj-defense-lawyer.com

A new law is seeking life imprisonment for sexual intercourse with any child under the age of 13.

The new penalty for life imprisonment is contained in a Bill for the Penal Code (Amendment) Act No. of 2016 that is expected to go before the Second Extraordinary Parliament for 2016 starting on December 8 seeking the approval of the Vanuatu lawmakers to increase the penalty from the current 14 years.

If passed by Parliament, the Bill will set the first penalty of life imprisonment in the Penal Code of Vanuatu for any criminal conduct.

The Bill amends the Penal Code Act (CAP 135) “the Act”. The main objective of this amendment is to strengthen the purpose of this Act in providing deterrence, especially individual deterrence for specific offender, according to the Explanatory Note of the Bill.

“The goal is to impose a sufficient penalty to discourage the offender from criminal behavior,” the Explanatory Note states.

“It relates mainly to sexual offenses such as abduction, incest, rape and unlawful sexual intercourse.”

“The Courts have highlighted the fact that the current penalties need to be reviewed and amended to assist the Courts in applying appropriate and fair penalties according to the seriousness of the offenses committed.”

The Bill for the Penal Code (Amendment) Act is seeking 10 amendments to the Act and in some cases doubling the term of prison sentences for sexual offenses, highlighting the increasing number of serious sexual offenses, especially against minors and incest in the country today.

Item one amends section 92 of the Act, Abduction, by deleting figure “10” and substituting it with the figure “12”. The new penalty for the offense of abduction under age will now be imprisonment for a term of not exceeding 12 years.

Item two amends section 92 of the Act by inserting a new Section 92A to deal with abduction of girls under the age of 18 years and provides for a maximum penalty of seven years.

Items three amends subsection 95, Incest (2) of the Act by deleting the figure “10” and substituting it with the figure “15”. The penalty for the offense of incest being sexual intercourse between parents and child will now be imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 years.

Item four amends subsection 95(3) of the Act by inserting after that subsection new subsections (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), and (9). 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 offense is committed. Subsection (8) provides that a person must not commit incest with a person over 16 years and subsection (9) provides that the penalty of life imprisonment if that offense is committed.

Item five amends subsection 97 (1) of the Act by deleting the words “14 years” and substituting it with the word “life”. The new penalty for sexual intercourse with any child under the age of 13 is life imprisonment.

Item six amends subsection 97 Unlawful Sexual Intercourse(2) of the Act by deleting the figure “5” and substituting it with the figure “15”. The penalty for sexual intercourse with any child under the age of 15 or 13 years or over is 15 years imprisonment.

Item seven amends paragraph 107(a) of the Act by deleting the words “3 months” and substituting it with the words “1” year. The penalty for intentional assault on the body of another person if no physical damage is caused is one year imprisonment.

Item eight amends paragraph 107(b) of the Act Intentional Assault by deleting the words “1 year” and substituting it with the words “5 years”. The penalty for intentional assault on the body of another person if damage of a temporary nature is caused is 5 years imprisonment.

Item nine amends paragraph 107 (c) of the Act by deleting the figure “5” and substituting it with the figure “10”. The penalty for intentional assault on the body of another person if damage of a permanent nature is caused is 10 years imprisonment.

Item 10 amends paragraph 107(d) of the Act by deleting the figure “10” and substituting it with the figure “14”. The penalty for intentional assault on the body of another person if damage caused result in death although there was no intention to cause such death is 14 years imprisonment.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: [email protected]. Cell # 678 5460922

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.