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Child cruelty reform ‘coming’

ALEX DOWNES, [email protected]

Child cruelty reform ‘coming’

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Stiffer penalties are coming for those found guilty of committing acts of cruelty to children.

Following a call yesterday from former Juvenile Court magistrate Faith Marshall-Harris for those acts to carry the same penalty for assault, for example, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has disclosed such plans are under way.

“Yes, [Faith Marshall-Harris] is right that in fact they need updating and we are going to update them,” Brathwaite told the DAILY NATION following the opening of the Cane Garden Police Station in St Thomas.

“There are many other laws like that across Barbados that if you look, they were done in 1940 or 1930 where the penalties are inconsistent with modern Barbados.

“But as I said, when we do the law reform commission, that’s exactly what we are going to do so the laws are always going to be up-to-date,” he added.

In a bid to tackle such outdated laws, the Attorney General said the bill for the Law Revision and Law Reform Act would be on the Order Paper for today’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

The new legislation would do things such as modernise the system of revising, consolidating and editing the laws of Barbados, make provision for the laws to be in electronic format, and provide for the preparation of a revised edition of the laws whenever the need arose.

Marshall-Harris, who is also the UNICEF Champion for Children, made the call for heavier punishment after a video filmed last year showed Latoya Morris kicking her then nine-month-old daughter in the head. She was hauled before the courts last week and pleaded guilty.

Currently, the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, Cap 145, stipulates penalties such as a $120 fine or a year in prison in default of payment on indictment.

Under the Offences Against The Person Act, assault carries a penalty of ten years, a fine, or both on indictment, or two years or a fine of $2 500 or both upon summary conviction. (AD)