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Bahamas: Sexual Offences Court Could Have Disruptive Impact

[ – 7/4/19]

JUSTICE Bernard Turner yesterday expressed concern that the establishment of a sexual offences court could have a “disruptive impact” as legal counsel may already have matters scheduled for other courts.

Speaking during yesterday’s session of the National Crime Council, Justice Turner also said judges undergo sensitivity training to deal with these kinds of matters.

Justice Turner was also asked his views on the establishment of the sexual offender’s registry. While he declined to comment specifically, he noted communities have an “obligation to protect themselves” without “unnecessarily stigmatising particular persons”.

Regarding his views of such a registry, Justice Turner replied: “Judges don’t comment on the wisdom of legislation, we only rule on the constitutionality of legislation.

“And so to comment on whether that is wise or even whether it is constitutional in advance of a matter being brought before the court is not something that (I will do).”

He continued: “Societies and communities have an obligation to protect themselves and to be aware of potential dangers without unnecessarily stigmatising particular persons for various motives. Complaints could be made for a variety of reasons, which may be motivated by fact or motivated by malice.

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