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13 August, 2009

The law is an up my ass

Filed under: buggery,laws — caiso @ 11:00

  • Under Trinidad & Tobago’s Sexual Offences Act, anal intercourse between a man and a man or a man and a woman who are both adults, whether consensual or not, is punishable by 25 years in jail. A person convicted is required to be tested for HIV and other communicable diseases, and the Court notified of the result.
  • The Immigration Act prohibits entry of prostitutes, homosexuals, persons living on their earnings, persons reasonably suspected as coming to Trinidad and Tobago for these or any other immoral purposes, and “persons who are reasonably suspected of attempting to bring into Trinidad and Tobago or of procuring prostitutes or other persons for the purpose of prostitution or homosexual or other immoral purposes”. This exclusion does not apply to citizens and residents.
  • All non-heterosexual sex is criminalized under the Sexual Offences Act. Pleasurable use of the genitals is punishable as “serious indecency”, worth five years in jail, except if it’s done between a man and a woman, both over 16, in private (or between a husband and wife, e.g., if she’s under 16 under the Hindu or Muslim marriage laws).
  • Anyone convicted of a sexual offence (whether the activity was consensual or not) is subject to sexual offender notification requirements for at least five years after sentencing, regardless to time spent in jail. This involves reporting your name and home address to the police station for that area (where it is recorded in a register) on sentencing and every time you move.

Text of laws below:

Sexual Offences Act
Chapter 11:28
Act 27 of 1986
Amended by
20 of 1994
31 of 2000

13. (1) A person who commits buggery is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment—

(a) if committed by an adult on a minor, for life;

(b) if committed by an adult on another adult, for twenty-five years;

(c) if committed by a minor, for five years.

(2) In this section “buggery” means sexual inter­course per anum by a male person with a male person or by a male person with a female person.

16. (1) A person who commits an act of serious indecency on or towards another is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment—

(a) if committed on or towards a minor under sixteen years of age for ten years for a first offence and to imprisonment for fifteen years for a subsequent offence;

(b) if committed on or towards a person sixteen years of age or more for five years.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an act of serious indecency committed in private between—

(a) a husband and his wife; or

(b) a male person and a female person each of whom is sixteen years of age or more, both of whom consent to the commission of the act.

(3) An act of “serious indecency” is an act, other than sexual intercourse (whether natural or unnatural), by a person involving the use of the genital organ for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.

See sections 34A-D for Notification Requirements for Sex Offenders and 34E for Mandatory Medical Examination of Accused.

Immigration Act
Chapter 18:01
An Act respecting the admission of persons into Trinidad and Tobago.
[1st July 1976]

Prohibited Classes

8. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), entry into Trinidad and Tobago of the persons described in this subsection, other than citizens and, subject to section 7(2), residents, is prohibited, namely­—

(a) persons who are idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, persons suffering from dementia and insane persons, and who are likely to be a charge on public funds;

(b) persons afflicted with any infectious or dangerous infectious disease;

(c) persons who are dumb, blind or otherwise physically defective, or physically handicapped, which might endanger their ability to earn a livelihood, or render them likely to become charges on public funds;

(d) persons who have been convicted of or admit having committed any crime, which if committed in Trinidad and Tobago would be punishable with imprisonment for one or more years;

(e) prostitutes, homosexuals or persons living on the earnings of prostitutes or homosexuals, or persons reasonably suspected as coming to Trinidad and Tobago for these or any other immoral purposes;

(f) persons who are reasonably suspected of attempting to bring into Trinidad and Tobago or of procuring prostitutes or other persons for the purpose of prostitution or homosexual or other immoral purposes;

(g) habitual beggars or vagrants;

(h) persons who are likely to become charges on public funds;

(i) persons who are chronic alcoholics;

(j) persons who are addicted to the use of any drug;

(k) persons who are engaged or at any time have been engaged or are suspected on reasonable grounds of being likely to engage in any unlawful giving, using, inducing other persons to use, distributing, selling, offering or exposing for sale, buying, trading or trafficking in any drug;

(l) persons who are or have been at any time before or after the commencement of this Act advocates of the overthrow by force or violence of the established Government of Trinidad and Tobago or any other country, or of all forms of law, or who advocate the abolition of organised government, or who advocate the assassination of public officials or who advocate or teach the unlawful destruction of property or who are or have been members of or affiliated to any organisation which entertains and preaches any of the doctrines and practices specified in this paragraph;

(m) persons concerning whom there are reasonable grounds for believing they are likely to engage in espionage, sabotage or any other subversive activity of any kind directed against Trinidad and Tobago or detrimental to the security of Trinidad and Tobago;

(n) persons, not included in any other prohibited class, who are certified by a medical officer as being mentally or physically abnormal to such a degree as to impair seriously their ability to earn a living;

(o) persons who have been reasonably suspected of engaging in treasonable activities against Trinidad and Tobago or of assisting enemies in time of war;

(p) persons who cannot or do not fulfil or comply with any of the conditions or requirements of this Act or the Regulations or any orders lawfully made or given under this Act or the Regulations;

(q) any person who from information or advice which in the opinion of the Minister is reliable information or advice is likely to be an undesirable inhabitant of, or visitor to Trinidad and Tobago.

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5 Comments »

  1. Very informative post! Still trying to figure out if I should be serving consecutive or concurrent 25(for buggery) and/or 5 (indecent assault) year sentences. We need to challenge these laws and create case precedents that over time can be codified into law and be the basis of amending existing laws. Willing to put my money where my typing fingers are and donate to a legal iniative!

    Comment by David Mathers — 13 August, 2009 @ 21:05 | Reply

    • David:

      In your joking you confuse “serious indecency” and “indecent assault”. The latter is an assault (i.e. non-consensual) with “indecent” intention conveyed by words or circumstances. It is the fallback penalty when a rape or sexual assault conviction is not successful. Offences after the first are subject to ten years imprisonment. The law defines minors under 16 as incapable of consent, and therefore sexual engagement of them is treated as assault.

      Although “serious indecency” also applies to sexual acts involving minors (and penalizes them more heavily), it is quite different from “indecent assault” in that it is also used to criminalize all consensual genital pleasure between adults (other than intercourse, which is dealt with separately) unless it occurs heterosexually.

      Let’s hope you haven’t assaulted anyone!

      Comment by caiso — 14 August, 2009 @ 07:00 | Reply

  2. Much thanks for the clarification, your knowledge of the law is quite impressive!

    Now, any suggestions on a timetable for challenging these arcane statutes? As i said before, I am committed to supporting a local initiative to challenge the entire suite of anti-homosexuals laws.

    Comment by David Mathers — 14 August, 2009 @ 08:23 | Reply

    • No clear timetable, no, but as we indicated in two previous posts there is an active discussion that includes others in the region and the Commonwealth about “the right opportunity, the best approach and the best plaintiffs”. The way these things work, we might in fact benefit locally if other countries to go ahead of us.

      Comment by caiso — 14 August, 2009 @ 09:07 | Reply

  3. (b) if committed by an adult on another adult, for twenty-five years – I guess half of the population should be in prison

    (a) persons who are idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, persons suffering from dementia and insane persons, and who are likely to be a charge on public funds – I find this very funny lol…

    Seriously in need of change!

    Comment by Ethan — 20 August, 2009 @ 03:12 | Reply


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