High Court: Juvenile sex offenders cannot be given lenient punishment

High Court of the Maldives. (Sun File Photo/Ihthisham Mohamed)

High Court has declared that juvenile sex offenders cannot be given leniency in punishment.

Minors found guilty of sexually abusing another minor can be sentenced to detention in a juvenile detention facility for a period of no longer than five years, as per the Special Provisions Act to Deal with Child Sexual Abuse Offenders states. On the contrary, the Juvenile Justice Act states that juvenile sex offenders can only be subject to a punishment that is two-third degrees lower than the most lenient punishment set down by the law.

Citing the Juvenile Justice Act – Juvenile Court, in 2021, sentenced a minor who sexually abused a 15-year-old to three years and two months to detention in a juvenile detention facility.

However, the minor was freed as the enforcement of the judgment was delayed by one year, subject to certain conditions.

High Court, in the appeal of the case, revoked Juvenile Court’s decision and ordered to review the case again.

The judges’ bench who presided over the case came to the decision unanimously. The bench was chaired by Judge Mohamed Saleem while the other two members included Judge Huzaifa Mohamed and Judge Hassan Shafeeu.