…plans to take model to Berbice, EssequiboAfter years of extensive discussion and planning among stakeholders, the Supreme Court of Judicature (High Court) on Monday launched the Sexual Offences Court with hopes to take this same model to the other two counties – Berbice and Essequibo – in an effort to reduce the increased incidence of such cases.Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards addressing the launch of the Sexual Offences Court on MondayIn declaring the court open, acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards said that the specialist court was properly staffed and would see the rotation of criminal judges. The Chancellor also noted that the courtroom was properly equipped and would include a victim support unit.“We have a panel of eminent judges and witnesses, a special room to testify and a panel of support staff and an energetic chief justice… there will be no shortage of personnel to do the work. We wish to take this model to Berbice and Essequibo, where we have Supreme Courts,” she announced.Justice Cummings-Edwards told a gathering of members of the local Bar Association, several prominent lawyers and other guests that training for personnel working for this specific court would also be provided. She said that two categories of persons from Trinidad were willing to provide the necessary training.“They are willing to come on board to train – one is a sexual abuse specialist (children), a psychologist and as well as criminal law judge involved with sexual offence matters that helped to shape our guidelines and legislation,” the acting Chancellor explained, noting that this would be extended to the other courts.While reminding people that the Sexual Offences Court will be victim-centred, she said this did not mean that the constitutional rights of the accused person would be disregarded. She stated that the presumption of innocence and equal protection would be remembered in these matters.Justice Cummings-Edwards drew reference to statistics which have shown that sexual offences have been on the rise, both regionally and locally. “And we know that sexual offences do have a far-reaching impact on the victims whether they be adults or children, vulnerable groups…”She continued, “When we look at statistics, more than 50 per cent of the cases for the Demerara Assizes over the last two sessions showed us that sexual offences comprised half of the list. So if half of the list comprised sexual offences, it meant that the other indictable offences like robbery and rape took second place…that is something we have to address.”The acting Chancellor reminded that sexual offences affect victims emotionally, psychologically, and physically and those effects could be long term, short term, and it could also affect the development of the victims. And these victims require specialist treatment on the part of everyone concerned, be it the Police, investigators, medical practitioners, NGOs, prosecution, the court.She emphasised that the entire process from investigation to the final adjudication and the entire criminal justice system as a whole must be careful how they approach this work. She believes if caution is not taken, secondary trauma or secondary victimisation could be inflicted on victims and witnesses of sexual offences and this is something that should be avoided.Meanwhile, acting Chief Justice Roxane George noted that the judiciary was cognisant of the concerns that have been expressed as regards the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act, but said that the judicial system has responded and has been working assiduously to make the opening a reality.“This new court … represents the Chancellor and the judiciary to be responsive to the concerns that arise in our society about the conduct of trials in sexual offences’ cases, which we know must be dealt with sensitivity while respecting both the human rights of victims and survivors or accused,” she said.The Sexual Offences Court was birthed out of the Sexual Offences Act 2010, which was spearheaded by former Human Services and Education Minister Priya Manickchand. The former Minister had led what was then called the ‘Stamp it Out’ Campaign in 2010 which saw widespread consultations around the country, as regards sexual offences and other major human rights issues facing Guyana.
“More importantly was that we didn’t react to it.“We talked about that before the game, and only got one yellow card, which I though was a bit harsh for Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] anyway.“I was really pleased with the discipline we showed.” Gareth Southgate praised Jesse Lingard following the Manchester United ace’s wonder goal in England’s defeat of Panama.Lingard, the midfielder, scored England’s third goal of the 6-1 win, curling a fine long-range strike into the top corner of Jaime Penedo’s goal after a lovely give-and-go with Raheem Sterling. 2 Lingard’s goal was one of the best seen at the World Cup so far It was the first truly open play goal the Three Lions scored at the tournament, with Harry Kane later adding to this tally when he deflected Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s strike past Penedo to complete his hat-trick and move top of the competition’s scoring charts.Lingard was a lively presence until his substitution just after the hour mark, with the 25-year-old linking play brilliantly between midfield and attack. It was the same role Lingard played well in England’s World Cup opener, the defeat of Tunisia, and the performance was further proof that Lingard has developed into one of Southgate’s most important players since his appointment as England manager.And Southgate spoke to talkSPORT after the game, admitting just how pleased he was to see Lingard scored such a well-deserved goal.“I’m really pleased with the ruthless nature of the first-half,” Southgate said. “It took us a little while to work out the opposition’s system – it was a 6-3-1 really – and it was not easy to find space. We also got caught on the counter attack a couple of times.“But once we opened the scoring, we really started to look a threat. A couple of really special moves in that first half in particular.“I’m really pleased for Jesse Lingard. [His] was a top goal and his performances have warranted that as he’s been excellent for us in our recent matches.“We also continue to be a real threat from our set plays; the free-kick we played short was very special.”Panama appeared to approach the match as if they were playing rugby rather than football, with endless bad challenges and constant holding in the box leading to England winning two penalties and 13 free-kicks.There were times when a poor tackle caused Panama and England players to face up to one another, but Southgate was largely pleased with how his squad didn’t rise to provocation.“We knew that was likely to happen,” Southgate added, when asked about Panama’s physical play.“Teams now know we are such a threat; we’ve got three or four players that they’ve got to keep an eye on.“I was pleased the referee was strong. 2 Lingard was a victim of Panama’s aggression, winning a penalty after pressure from two defenders