FLS gives view on sex Bill

REGISTRATION of Sex Offenders Bill is all about monitoring, says Fiji Law Society president Laurel Vaurasi.

She made these comments while presenting the society’s written submissions on the Bill to the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights in Suva on Friday.

Ms Vaurasi said the society had concerns on the way the Bill had been drafted with respect to its practical implementations as well as the benchmarking of how a sexual offender was defined.

She questioned where were the parts of the Bill that addressed the issue which included counselling and if the specified agencies were doing more than just exchanging information.

“The aim of the Bill is clear and that is to reduce sexual offences. When we look at the Bill as a whole, we can see that, there is a need to consider that we have not just the law but you are looking at the purpose to be fulfilled,” Ms Vaurasi said.

“People in Fiji live in a culture of talanoa. Confidentiality was addressed in the Bill, but it is so imperative that we have a Bill that ensures the specified agencies and authorised officers that were listed in the Bill know once they breach it, there is a specific offence for it.”

Society member Madonna Fong highlighted that the committee should consider the definition of corresponding law which failed to specify when a person had to report offences of a sexual nature.

Ms Fong said there wasn’t any distinction between types of offenders in the Bill.

“You can’t say that someone accidentally touched other person’s arms or chest is in the same category of person who has raped someone.”

She said classifying them as sex offenders registered for life was something they were against.

Some other submissions asked why, under the Bill, those under 12 years would not to be considered as sex offender and what information would be recorded and collected for the registrar with requirements of photographs to be included.