Tuesday 17 July, 2018

13-Year-Old Mother Case Spawns Two Investigations

An investigation is ongoing on two fronts regarding a 13-year-old girl who gave birth to a baby boy three months ago.

On one front is the police investigation which has to do with the sexual part of the scenario. St. Lucia’s Criminal Code frowns heavily on sex with someone under the age of 16.

Chapter two of the Code that deals with sexual offences states that a person who has sexual intercourse with another person who— (a) is not the spouse of the first-mentioned person; and (b) is 12 years of age or more but has not attained the age of 16 years, commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for 15 years.

The Code also states that “It is a defence to a charge under this section if the person charged proves that— (a) the other person consented; and (b) the person charged— (i) was not more than 21 years of age at the time of the commission of the offence and has not been previously charged with the same or similar offence, and (ii) had reasonable cause to believe and did believe that the other person was 16 years of age or more.

The rest of the Criminal Code states thus: Subsection (2) shall not apply if it is proved that the consent was obtained by false or fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act. (4) Except as provided in subsection (2), it is no defence to a charge under this section that the person consented or that the person charged believed that the person was 16 years of age or more. (5) If a marriage is declared invalid by a Court of competent jurisdiction the invalidity does not make a person guilty of an offence under this section because that person has sexual intercourse with a person who he or she or she believes to be his or her or her spouse, and has reasonable cause for the belief.

Police are not releasing any information regarding their investigation. The same applies to the Department of Human Services, claiming that since the matter is under investigation it cannot reveal any information.

The Department is carrying out its own investigation to determine whether the girl is fit enough or has the family support and wherewithal to accommodate her baby.

The three-month-old baby is in the protective care of Human Services, compliments of the Family Court, which has already interviewed the teen mother. She has been released in the care of her mother.

The authorities became aware of the under-aged girl and her baby after the latter was reported missing during the Christmas season.