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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Deputies reject reduction in age of consent ]

Deputies reject reduction in age of consent

THE HOUSE Legal Affairs Committee has unanimously rejected a government bill to reduce the age of consent to 16, while adding a provision that will offer child sex abusers the right to use the fact that they weren’t aware of the victim’s age as a valid defence in court.

According to Committee Chairman Ionas Nicolaou of DISY, the law today provides that if a girl is under the age of 17, it is a criminal offence to have intercourse with her and it carries a sentence of up to three years in prison.

“The Legal Services and Justice Ministry brought us a bill [on Thursday] to reduce this age to 16, with the addition of a provision that in the event that the attacker had good reason to believe that the victim was older than she actually was, then this can be used in court in his defence,” he explained yesterday.

“How can you reduce the age of consent on one hand and come and add this defence on the other,” he added. “Are there any girls today who don’t look older than their age, with the way they dress and the make-up they use? In the end, everyone will start using this defence to get off. Are we to leave our children exposed to these criminals?”

But Nicolaou added, “If they are both around the same age, the boy is 17 or 18 and the girl is 16, we said we could discuss that if they brought us a special provision for these specific instances.

But to have a 40 or 50 or 60-year-old having sex with a young girl, are we to pass a law that will cover them? We said no. If they bring a provision for teenagers who are around the same age, then we will discuss it. But for other cases, we said no way. The decision was unanimous,” he concluded.

The age of consent for heterosexual sex was changed in several years ago from 16 to 17 to counteract demands made by the gay community that the age of consent should be the same for both. The age of consent for homosexuality at the time was 18 but the authorities did not want to reduce it to 16 so they compromised at 17 for both.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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