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Sex offenders’ register Bill tabled in Senate

Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General (File photograph)

A sex offenders’ register is proposed under legislation tabled yesterday in the Senate by the Attorney-General.

Kathy Lynn Simmons, also Legislative Affairs Minister, was given responsibility for child protection in the new Cabinet announced by David Burt last week. The register, if approved by legislators, will not be open to the public and details will not be available through the Public Access to Information Act.

The Bill also included provision for a $10,000 fine for unlawful disclosure of register information. The list would also include offenders from overseas who became residents of Bermuda, with photographs and addresses. The minister would administer the register, with offenders to be listed for ten years or more, depending on the findings of an “offender risk management team”.

The creation of a register was recommended by a Joint Select Committee at the close of the last session of the House of Assembly. The prisons would be required to notify the minister of an offender’s release at least two months in advance.

It also proposed stricter requirements for jailed sex offenders to complete rehabilitation programmes before becoming eligible for early release.

The fine for revealing the identity of an alleged victim or the defendant in a sex assault would be doubled — up from $5,000 to $10,000.

The term of supervision for sex offenders believed to be at risk of reoffending would go up to a minimum of ten years, but would remain at a maximum of ten years for other offenders.