sexual offences

Don't view sexual offences only through traditional male perspective - Chief Justice

In one of her last decisions before ending a five-year contract as head of the judiciary in Seychelles, Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey came out strongly on the need for the country’s penal code to be modernised in relation to its definition of consent in sexual offences. The CJ said that at present it only defined ‘absence of consent’, and that it was time ‘to look beyond the traditional male perspective as the prism through which sexual offences must necessarily be viewed.’

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In one of her final decisions as head of the judiciary in Seychelles, Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey has shown herself a strong supporter of the rights of women in cases that concern sexual assault, urging that changes be made in the penal code and that ‘myths’ about the ‘normal reaction’ of someone who had been raped be consigned ‘to the dustbin of the history of male perspective myths about rape victims.’

High court judge finds 'no place' for sexual offences corroboration rule in Malawi

Many women and men have long felt uncomfortable with the corroboration requirement attached to trials of sexual offences. This requirement, whether a matter of law or practice, appears increasingly unjustifiable, unconstitutional even. It is inevitably, and almost exclusively, directed against women who are the overwhelming targets of sex crimes. Malawi now appears to have joined the list of jurisdictions where the corroboration rule will be regarded with suspicion and discarded.

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From being standard practice, the requirement that there be additional corroboration in sexual crimes is gradually losing its grip. Several African common law countries have already specifically stopped insisting on this requirement, South Africa and Namibia among them.

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