After ruling for gay people …”VERBAL ATTACKS ON JUDGE”

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Ever since he ruled for gay people, Justice Devindra Rampersad has been the butt of criticism from the public.

And it seems that it is bothering him. He made this known on Monday when the matter came up again.

Three months ago, Rampersad ruled that this country’s buggery law was unconstitutional. Now he is complaining that citizens are unfairly accusing him of being biased.

In court, Rampersad said, “If it is a criticism of a judgment, I have no problem with that. What has troubled me is that since the judgment was delivered there have been statements that were written that affect the perception of the Judiciary. It is suggesting there is an agenda and that the court is biased and not operating freely.”

Rampersad said he acted fairly in assessing the case and stated that his decision was based solely on the law and not on morality or religious beliefs.

Fyard Hosein SC, who leads the State’s team, joined in to denounce the unfair criticism leveled at Rampersad.

Hosein added, “I want to place it on record that we want to condemn such statements because we have confidence in the Judiciary. Justice is about getting it right.

“This is a secular State under the Constitution and I want to appeal to persons who may have gotten carried away to refrain from making such unfortunate statements.”

During yesterday’s hearing, Rampersad heard oral submissions on whether the law should be struck down or amended.

While he ruled that sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalizes buggery and serious indecency even between consenting adults, is unconstitutional, Rampersad did not make a ruling on how the law should be interpreted to give effect to his judgment.

Hosein submitted that Rampersad should not modify the law as it would have unintended effects on other pieces of colonial legislation.

However, Rampersad warned that there would also be negative consequences if he merely struck out the sections of the legislation.

He pointed out that such a move would mean that forced anal intercourse would no longer be a criminal offence.

Rampersad suggested that he modify the legislation to introduce the defence of consent to offences.

Hosein suggested that introducing such a measure would be contrary to Parliament’s intention in criminalising the offences.

Hosein added, “That is a matter that lies squarely with the legislature.”

Rampersad also called on the parties to file additional submissions on whether the legal provisions for rape covered non-consensual anal sex.

Rampersad is expected to give his final decision in September.

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JUSTICE DEVINDRA RAMPERSAD

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