Government of Jamaica to Draft Child Porn Law
By Daraine Luton
July 19, 2006
Justice Minister and Attorney-General, Senator A.J. Nicholson, has given instruction for the drafting of child pornography legislation.
According to Canute Brown, director of justice reform in the Ministry of Justice, he has been mandated to oversee the drafting of the law.
"The minister gave me the directive last week to come up with such submission," Mr. Brown told The Gleaner yesterday. "The law will deal specifically with the making, distribution and sale of child pornography."
While pornography is illegal under Jamaican law, no section of the Jamaican statute speaks to child pornography as an offence. Cases of pornography may be charged under the Obscene Publications Act or the Offences Against the Persons Act. Though the sale and trafficking of children are dealt with under the Child Care and Protection Act, the matter of child pornography is not mentioned.
A breach of the Obscene Publications Act, passed in 1927, carries a maximum fine of $40 or a three-month prison term.
It is uncertain whether the proposed child pornography law will be an amendment to the existing obscene publication laws or an amendment to the Child Care and Protection Act.
It is also uncertain when the proposed bill will come to fruition although Mr. Brown said he aimed to present Parliament with a draft by September.
Children's Advocate, Mary Clarke, said she was pleased by the revelation.
"That is so good. We need to crackdown on this latest attack on our children, the use of technology to do evil," Mrs. Clarke said.
While welcoming the Justice Ministry initiative, Mrs. Clarke called for a values and attitudes programme to be instituted if the fight against child abuse is going to be successful.
WILLING TO COME ON BOARD
Betty-Ann Blaine, convenor of civil group, Hear the Children's Cry, also welcomed the move to draft more laws aimed at protecting the nation's children.
"My organisation looks forward to working with the Ministry of Justice in whatever way we can to ensure that it moves quickly," she said.
The absence of child pornography laws was raised in a recent publication of The Sunday Gleaner, in which it was noted that technology had been used to facilitate child pornography. The Gleaner also recently broke the story of a 13-year-old girl being filmed while being sexually molested in the presence of a church deacon.
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