On Wednesday 16 February, States members are due to approve an ordinance that will bring The Sexual Offences (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020 into force.
Although this is the final stage of the legislative process, Deputy Carl Meerveld and Deputy John Dyke have placed an amendment. They want to delay the implementation of a paragraph of the legislation that Deputy Gavin St Pier and Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez added by amendment in a previous debate in June 2020.
Paragraph 4 (2)(g) requires the defence to produce evidence of consent in sexual offences cases where the alleged victim could have been incapable of giving consent because of voluntary consumption of drugs or alcohol. The previous draft of the law only referred to involuntary consumption of drugs eg Rohypnol.
Deputy Meerveld believes the voluntary consumption paragraph goes against the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”. Deputy St Pier says it “does away with victim blaming”.
To better understand the arguments for and against the Meerveld/Dyke amendment, read the Hansard report from the June 2020 debate of the original St Pier/De Sausmarez amendment (debate starts on page 20) and the media coverage below.
To better understand the reasons why the new Sexual Offences legislation is being introduced in the first place, read the original Home Affairs policy paper debated in July 2011 (page 1089).
Radio interviews with Deputy Carl Meerveld (1:06:30) and Deputy Gavin St Pier (2:06:55) (BBC Guernsey, 9 Feb)
Deputies want to delay part of new sex offences law (Bailiwick Express, 9 Feb)
Guernsey sexual offence law consent update may be delayed (BBC Guernsey online, 9 Feb)
Sexual offences law goes ‘step too far’, says deputy (Guernsey Press, 10 Feb)
“Misunderstanding” at heart of sexual offences amendment debate (Bailiwick Express, 11 Feb)
“Alleged statistics not meaningful” to States’ sex law debate (Bailiwick Express, 11 Feb)
A question of consent – opinion piece by Gavin St Pier (Guernsey Press, 15 Feb)
The Sexual Offences (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020 (Commencement) Ordinance, 2022
The Sexual Offences (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2020
Meerveld/Dyke amendment (Feb 22)
St Pier/De Saumarez amendment (Jul 20)
Hansard report from the June 2020 debate of the original St Pier/De Sausmarez amendment (debate starts on page 20)
Original Home Affairs policy paper debated in July 2011 (page 1089).