Lifetime registry

SEX offenders whose names appear in the proposed Sex Offenders Registry will remain there for life.

The proposed Sex Offenders Registry Bill was outlined by the chairman of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights, Ashneel Sudhakar.

Mr Sudhakar said even a 12-year-old child found guilty and convicted by the court of law of a sex crime would have his or her name entered into the registry.

He said for a person’s name to appear on the proposed registry, that person would need to be convicted of the offence.

“You don’t go in the registration of sex offenders list automatically, you have to have a conviction,” he said. “So if an adult is involved in a sexual offence, is convicted by the court, he goes in the register. Likewise for a child.

“I just heard from the media that a 13-year-old boy has been questioned for a sexual crime in Vanua Levu. If that person goes through the normal process of court and is found guilty and convicted, he goes on the list. No one escapes.”

He said the proposed Bill required convicted sex offenders to register their name in the registry within six months of being convicted.

He said the penalty for not doing so was a fine of $10,000 or up to five years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, Mr Sudhakar said a child 10 years old and below does not have criminal responsibility.

Mr Sudhakar’s explanation about the Online Safety Bill and the Sex Offenders Bill 2018 yesterday came after a question by Aspire Network executive director Kaajal Kumar on what would happen if a child posted an explicit video of another child on social media.

“In the law there is no criminal responsibility for children under 10, so for anybody under the age of 10 there is no criminal responsibility. Secondly, anybody under the age of 12 is not capable of sexual offence,” Mr Sudhakar said.

“Now, if a person under 10 years posts anything on Facebook or on social media as such, there is no criminal responsibility, so he can escape.”

Mr Sudhakar said for a person’s name to appear on the proposed Sex Offenders Registry Bill, that person would need to be convicted of the offence.

“The offenders list (Sex Offenders Registry) is the second part of it, you don’t go in the registration of sex offenders list automatically, you have to have a conviction,” he said.

“So if an adult is involved in a sexual offence and is convicted by the court, he goes in the register. Likewise for a child.

The two Bills will be up for debate in the next Parliament sitting scheduled for next month.

While tabling the two Bills in Parliament on March 16, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the registration of sex offenders 2018 would help police and Government monitor sex offenders in the community and reduce sexual offences.

He said the Online Safety Bill 2018, sought to promote online safety through the establishment of the Online Safety Commission.

“The recent increase in reports of harmful and irresponsible online behaviour reflects changing attitude and behaviour of people.”