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Bahamian Minister of National Security says 40-year-old man who had sex with 14-year-old got too harsh a sentence

Bahamian Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe has been receiving heavy criticism following his statement that the four-year prison sentence imposed on a 40-year-old man who impregnated a 14-year-old schoolgirl was too long because the victim willingly had sex with the man.

“If I were advising the accused and someone gets seven years for raping somebody, I wouldn’t be advising my client to agree to four years for unlawful intercourse, because I would say that if we go to court, you would say to the judge, ‘He didn’t rape her. She consented,’” he said when asked about the issue.

A 40-year-old Bahamian man was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl, the result of a plea deal.

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Munroe when commenting on the ruling said, “If you were to rape a virgin and if you were to rape a prostitute, both are rape, but you’re likely to be awarded a higher sentence for raping a nun than raping a prostitute. “That’s just what the case was.”

The Bahamian minister further argued that having sex with a person under the age of consent “is not rape” and said he does not understand the controversy over the issue. He considers it just being punished because the victim is not of age. “The charge was unlawful sexual intercourse, which means that it’s not rape, which means that you are being punished because as a big man you shouldn’t be having sex with anybody under 16.

He further stated that a higher sentence would be given to a person who forces someone under the age of 16 to have sex vs someone who has sex with someone under 16 who participated willingly “If the person is under 16, if you force them, they would still charge you with sex with somebody under 16, but the sentencing court would say that you forced this person; they didn’t initiate it, so you will get a higher sentence than somebody who initiates it with you.”

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The Bahamian minister has since received harsh criticism on social media with many users calling for his resignation while others accused him of promoting pedophilia.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Franklyn Williams was also embroiled in the matter as he was accused of victim-blaming after a comment on the matter.

After the backlash, he later said, “In this case, the meeting, if you want to call it that, was initially on Facebook. I was merely making a general observation. I was in no way blaming this young lady. She’s not at fault. Obviously, this is a person who was responsible. When I say responsible, I’m talking about the man who should have enough discernment and sense at the age of 40 to know he’s not dealing with an equal.

“I’m not blaming her. But I do want to underscore that when these acts occurred, she should have been under the supervision of her mother, her father, or her guardian — a responsible adult.”

Section 11 of the Bahamas Sexual Offences Act states “Any person who has unlawful sexual intercourse with any person being of or above fourteen years of age and under sixteen years of age, whether with or without the consent of the person with whom he had unlawful sexual intercourse, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for life, subject to, on a first conviction for the offence, a term of imprisonment of seven years and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction for the offence, a term of imprisonment of fourteen years.”

 

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