Assembly approves harsher punishment for criminals


26-July-2012

Presenting the Penal Code Amendment Bill to the National Assembly, Home Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan said the Bill makes provision for minimum mandatory sentences for first time offenders as well as for those who have committed such an offence more than once.

These offences relate to burglary, robbery with violence, extortion, housebreaking and other similar offences.

Another amendment states that in cases when a person is sentenced to seven years in prison but not more than eight, the person will be given a minimum mandatory five years imprisonment if he/she is a first time offender.

It also states that a criminal who has committed an offence previously will get a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison.

In cases where a person committing an offence gets a sentence of eight years but not more that 10 years, a minimum mandatory sentence of eight years in prison will be given to a first time offender. A person who has committed such an offence more than once, will get a minimum mandatory sentence of 12 years in prison.

Mr Morgan said in the case where an offender gets a sentence of more than 10 years or even life imprisonment, the minimum mandatory sentence for a first time offender will be 15 years.
On the other hand, a person will get a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison for a repeated offence.

In relation to first time offenders who have committed offences mentioned earlier in the article, the Bill makes provision that minimum mandatory sentence is not imposed in cases where no violence was used, the offence did not result in the death of another person or there was no serious bodily injury.

Mr Morgan added that an exception will also be made if the offence committed did not involve stealing from another person in a dwelling house, vehicle or vessel or from breaking into the said dwelling house, vehicle or vessel.

The amended Bill also makes provision to increase minimum mandatory sentence for sexual assaults, for acts of indecency or sexual interference below the age of 15. The sentence will be increased to 14 years imprisonment for first time offenders, where the accused person is an adult.

For those who have committed the said offences within a period of 10 years subsequently after a first conviction, they will get a minimum mandatory sentence of 28 years in prison.

The Bill also states that a person shall be liable to life imprisonment in cases of sexual assaults or sexual interference that includes penetration with a child under the age of 15, if the accused person has committed the offence for a second time or subsequently.

Other amendments also give the courts of Seychelles jurisdictions to try the offences of attempt, conspiracy, aiding and abetting in relation to the offence of piracy whether within Seychelles or elsewhere.

Mr Morgan said the government feels it is in the interest of all citizens – for peace and security of the country – that these amendments have been made.

This is to ensure that the offenders are dealt with severely and with this new law, they will have to think twice before committing these offences in the future.

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