Outdated Penal Code BES Can Lead to Acquittal for Sexual Offenses

Sad young woman sitting on the bed
The outdate code for the BES-islands has already lead to an acquittal for a sexual offense.

Sad young woman sitting on the bed

By Harald Linkels

Kralendijk- The outdated penal code on the BES islands can, in some cases, lead to the acquittal of suspects of sexual offenses. This becomes clear from information provided by the Public Prosecutor’s office BES.

A specific incident that led to the acquittal of a suspect is the case against the accused A.W. A.W. was recently acquitted by the court in Bonaire of a sexual crime, for sexual acts with a woman who was under the influence at that moment and thus in a state of reduced consciousness.

The Court of First Instance came to this conclusion because it is not (yet) punishable on the BES islands to deliberately commit acts that consist of or consist of the sexual penetration of the body with someone who is in a state of reduced consciousness. This led to the suspicion in the Court’s opinion that the accused had to be acquitted of the offenses against him. However, the Court of First Instance did consider the conduct of A.W. reprehensible.

The incident took place in June 2017. In the opinion of the Court of First Instance, it was established that the complainant was under the influence of drugs, possibly in combination with alcohol, and was unable to determine her will. It has also been established that the suspect was aware of this.

Penal code not adapted to modern times
With the exception of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, the deliberate perpetration of acts consisting of or co-existing of the sexual intrusion of the body with someone who is in a state of reduced consciousness is punishable in all parts of the Kingdom.

In the Netherlands this has been the case since 2002 and after the constitutional changes in 2010, the outdated penal codes of the countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have also been adapted and largely brought in line with the Dutch Penal Code.

However, the Netherlands, the legislator of the BES islands, has so far seen no reason to adjust the penal code of the BES islands.

The Public Prosecution Service has shared the verdict in the case against A.W. giving an insight to the considerations of the Court to acquit the suspect.

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