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Fiji Time: 1:25 AM on Wednesday 23 July

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Crime decree set for 2010

Thursday, December 03, 2009

PEOPLE caught seeking the services of prostitutes will from next year be liable for criminal charges.

This is part of the changes expected when the Crime Decree next February.

"As the law stands it is only the prostitute that gets charged but the person procuring those services does not and as you know prostitution in Fiji is gender-biased, in the sense the prostitutes are predominantly female," Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"So the males get away while the females get locked up. This brings about gender equality in our criminal justice system."

The new Crimes Decree, which will be implemented early next year will ensure consistent sentencing by the courts.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the decree would make Fiji compliant with the Rome Statute, CEDAW and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said that no longer would Fiji have a magistrate, for instance, in Taveuni who would send a villager to nine months imprisonment for stealing a pair of flip flops as opposed to someone who had stolen $50,000 from a bank and given a suspended sentence, or someone stealing a pair of flip flops in Lautoka may get a suspended sentence but the person in Taveuni goes into prison for nine months.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the new Crimes Decree would include provisions related to corruption, rape where there would no longer be the old rule of collaboration in respect of rape, no longer also would the sexual history of a woman alleging rape be used in court and there would now be recognition of the condition of the mental health of a woman standing trial for abortion or infanticide.

Computer hacking he said was another new offence included in the Crimes Decree.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said these were all part of modernising Fiji's criminal justice system.


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