Sex offenders register to be established in Bermuda

By CMC

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(CMC) – Legislators have given the green light to a register of sex offenders being set up in the territory, however, it will remain off-limits to the general public.

Opposition legisltors have welcomed the legal change but raised concerns about how few of the recommendations from a Joint Select Committee (JSC) report on a register had been adopted.

Shadow Legal Affairs Minister Scott Pearman on Friday congratulated Health Minister Kim Wilson, who presented the bill in the House of Assembly, but said that only two of 14 JSC recommendations had been taken up.

“One, it was supposed to be public – which it is not.”

Pearman was speaking as the The Criminal Code (Sex Offender Management) Amendment Act was passed with no objections.

The new register will only be available to the appropriate authorities.

Some members of the JSC, including Tourism and Transport Minister Zane DeSilva, had recommended that the register should be open to the public.

DeSilva said the new law was “the thin end of the wedge” and he hoped more of the JSC recommendations would be adopted in the future.

“Paedophiles don’t get any sympathy from me – none. The victims are penalised for the rest of their life.If I had my way, paedophiles would have an electronic monitoring device for life,”DeSilva said.

Pearman also said offenders should be categorised in tiers, so those who were guilty of lesser offences such as voyeurism and indecent exposure would not be classified alongside paedophiles.

Shadow Home Affairs Minister Sylvan Wilson added that there was “potential stigmatisation” if someone was convicted of urinating in a bush or going skinny dipping.

“Granted, there were 14 recommendations that came from the JSC. However, and notwithstanding the enormous amount of work that this committee did produce, we also have to recognise that the policy development by the Attorney-General and her chambers started way before the JSC committee submitted their report,” Wilson said.

The act also makes it compulsory for sex offenders to have treatment before they are eligible for early release from prison.

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