A repeated sex offender who was being prosecuted for an offence later decided to stalk the female prosecutor handling the case, Independent Senator Sophia Chote related yesterday.
Chote spoke about the incident while contributing to yesterday’s Senate debate on the bill to facilitate electronic monitoring bracelet systems for offenders. (C BX)
Chote said those charged with sexual offences should top the list of people being fitted with electronic monitoring bracelet devices, in the same way, domestic violence victims should top another list of those getting device protection.
Relating why devices are necessary for sex offenders, she said in the case of the repeat sex offender who terrorized the female prosecutor, “….It was a terrifying experience for her. We have to understand certain kinds of offenders need to be monitored very closely.
“If there’s a limited number of devices to offer, priority should be given to domestic violence cases – an area where many people have lost their lives – and to serious sex offence cases.”
Chote advised against allowing the use of the devices on child offenders.
”Children will have to go to school with it and while it may mean the child will be out of prison, the situation would harm them in many other ways.
“There ought to be different consideration in rules to braceleting children as opposed to adults.”
She also said once devices pick up sounds from the wearer and those around them- rather than simply only alerting agencies – it would be a breach of wearers’ constitutional rights. She queried how the agency handling devices will work with telecommunication provider personnel.
The bill proposes user fees for the devices and the wearer will have to consent to use them. If devices are damaged, applicants will have to return to court. Chote said the Government must bear the cost of bracelets since rich youths will simply pay for the devices and continue with their lives, but poor youths can’t. She also said Government should take responsibility and insure the devices.
“The real focus should be on people who tamper with devices and get it off. Criminalizing that should be appropriate.”
National Security Minister Stuart Young had said the use of monitoring bracelets as a condition of bail for minor offenders will be a tremendous tool to make TT safer.
“It’ll give us immediate information on individuals’ whereabouts and allow monitoring of those on bail. “
Young said allowing the use of such devices as part of bail doesn’t currently exist. He felt it was desirable to use such devices than to leave young offenders open to influence in jail alongside hardened criminals. Consideration was also given to have such devices serve as a court sentence, for minor offenders.
The minister added the devices would be a massive tool for domestic violence victims, screaming out, “There are too many instances of innocent victims sometimes losing their life. This will help as realtime protection as opposed to a paper order from courts.”
However, UNC senator Kadijah Ameen said using bracelets alone would not prevent someone from killing a victim.