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Amended Sexual Offences Bill 2024: Establishment of sex offenders’ registry proposed; fingerprints, DNA profile to be included – Guyana Times

…Guyanese sex offenders outside of Guyana to be registered upon entry into country

A revision of the Sexual Offences Act 2010 has resulted in a number of proposals aimed at modernising the legislation, including the establishment of a National Sex Offender Database, something which has long been touted by local advocates.
As part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded Support for the Criminal Justice System (SCJS) Project being executed by the Attorney General’s Chambers and Legal Affairs Ministry, a consultant was retained to review and conduct a legal gap analysis of the sexual offences legislative regime in Guyana, including but not limited to, the Sexual Offences Act 2010.
The consultant has completed its tasks and has submitted draft amendments to the Sexual Offences Act 2010, now referred to as “the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2024.”

Among the proposed amendments is the establishment of a National Sex Offender Database, which shall contain over 30 personal details about the offender including their name and all former names, date and place of birth, sex, nationality, main as well as secondary addresses, place of employment, national identification card, their height, weight and physical description, offences committed, including their respective dates as well as convictions and penalties imposed, acquittals or pardons.
It is proposed that the database also include the licence plate number of the vehicle for which the offender has regular control or use, or which he owns or operates as well as a description of the vehicle.
The names and ages of children residing in the same dwelling house in which the offender is residing as well as the name, address and contact information for the offender’s next of kin are also to be included in the database, according to the proposed amendments.

The name, address and contact information of any club, association or organisation whose membership includes children and with which the offender is affiliated is also proposed to be included in the database.
Fingerprints, DNA profile compiled from sample taken from the offender, medical history including information on any communicable diseases contracted by the offender, photograph, information on the IP address of any device regularly used by the offender as well as their email addresses are proposed to be included in the database.
The revised act outlines that the Commissioner of Police, shall with the approval of the minister, maintain the database and ensure that the information entered into the database is in accordance with the law and is accurate.

It is further proposed that the database shall not be accessible to the public however, only certain persons, as outlined in the act, may apply for access to the database.
Meanwhile, the proposed updates to the act also outline that where a sex offender has appealed his conviction, the Court shall withhold making a determination on whether the sex offender shall register, pending the completion of the appeal.
On the other hand, the proposals outline that “where a person is convicted of an enterable Offence…the Court shall order that the person report to a police station…for the purposes of registering as a registered sex offender.”
However, before making that determination, a number of factors should be taken into account including the findings of a mental assessment report, the nature and gravity of the offence, the risk of reoffending, whether the victim was a child or a person with a mental disorder, among others.

Outside of Guyana
The amendments also cater for Guyanese sex offenders outside of Guyana to be registered upon entry into the country.
It states, “where a citizen of Guyana or a resident does an act in a country outside Guyana which, if it were done in Guyana, would constitute an enterable offence under this Act, he shall be required to comply with the provisions of this Part on entry into Guyana.”
“The Chief Immigration Officer shall inform the Commissioner of Police of the name and secondary address of any sex offender…within 48 hours of the entry of the sex offender into Guyana.”
The proposals also include provisions for the police to be notified of
discharge of sex offender.

It states that the Commissioner of Police shall, within two months before the discharge of a sex offender, cause a designated officer to attend the prison to interview the sex offender and collect certain information.
That officer shall also be responsible for informing the sex offender of his duty to report to the police station nearest, within seven calendar days of his discharge from the prison.
A sex offender who, without reasonable excuse, fails to report to a police station has committed an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $500,000 and to imprisonment for one year.
Additionally, the amended law outlines that within four months of the discharge of a sex offender from a prison, the Commissioner of Prisons shall notify the Commissioner of Police, in writing, of the date of discharge of the sex offender from the prison.
The Commissioner of Police is also tasked with informing the victim and his family of the impending release of the sex offender, within one month of receiving the information.
Additionally, according to the proposals, a registered sex offender who fails to inform a designated officer of any change in any of the information in the national database commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $500,000 and to imprisonment for one year.

Sexual grooming
Meanwhile, the number of enterable offences were broadened to include sexual grooming, voyeurism, and sex with an animal.
The full Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2024 can be accessed at the Ministry of Legal Affairs’ website and the public has been given 21 days to submit feedback.
According to a statement from the Attorney General’s Chambers on Monday, “in keeping with the Government’s policy to consult on important legislation, we invite your recommendations, proposals/amendments to be submitted to [email protected].”

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