High Court judge, Justice Esco Henry handed down her ruling on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (iWN file photo)

The High Court will rule, on Nov. 20, on whether to allow 10 churches to become a party to the challenge to the anti-buggery laws in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

On Wednesday, during a pre-trial hearing, Justice Esco Henry dismissed an application by lawyers for the claimants, asking that the court adjourn the hearing of the churches’ application.

Jomo Thomas and Shirlan “Zita” Barnwell appeared for the claimants, gay Vincentians Sean MacLeish and Javin Johnson, who say the nation’s anti-buggery and gross indecency laws contravene their constitutional rights.

Under the Criminal Code, any person who commits buggery with any other person, commits buggery with an animal, or permits any person to commit buggery with him or her is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

The Criminal Code also says that any person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another person of the same sex, or procures or attempts to procure another person of the same sex to commit an act of gross indecency with him or her, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for five years.

Ten churches have asked to join the Attorney General in responding to the challenge to these laws.

The churches are: Seventh-day Adventist Church; Evangelical Church of the West Indies; New Testament Church of God; Spiritual Baptist Church; Church of God St. Vincent; New Life Ministries; Light of Truth Church of God; Kingstown Baptist Church; Living Water Ministries International, and Hope Evangelism Outreach Ministries.

The churches, represented by Meisha Cruickshank, argued that they should be allowed to be a party to the claim.

However, the lawyers for the respondent asked that hearing of the application be adjourned on the basis that the other significant party to the claim, the Attorney Generals chambers, had not responded sufficiently or at all to their legal argument of the affidavit by the claimants.

Justice Esco Henry did not allow for the adjournment and heard arguments from both sides and will hand down a written judgement on Nov. 20

“It was a useful exchange,” Thomas told iWitness News on Wednesday after the court proceedings.

“The church essentially says it wants to enter the claim as a party which would allow it to do full blown applications, written and oral presentations, to do legal submissions on issues having to do with science, particularly as it relates to HIV/AIDS and as it relates to morality.

“Our position in the hearing of that application was that the applications don’t have standing to enter the case, based on the Civil Procedure Rules — CPR part 19 does not allow them to enter and to the extent that they can get in through CPR 56(13), they are only allowed, as an intervener, to do written submission,” Thomas told iWitness News.

9 replies on “Court to decide if churches can join anti-buggery lawsuit”

  1. Rawlston Pompey says:

    TURNING STATE INTO LITIGATION CIRCUS

    Not sure that the Court is judicially empowered as to rule that these religious denominations have ‘…locus standi’ in joining the Attorney General in any litigious proceedings instituted by ‘…private citizens’ against the State.

    Jomo Thomas is correct, ‘…joining with the Attorney General,’ they have no standing.

    Nothing to fear.

    The Constitution speaks to the people’s acknowledgement of the ‘…Supremacy of God’ [Preamble: Founding Constitutional Principle]. This is not easily tinkered with.

    The people will not allow it and the Courts cannot force the State to change it.

    The issues at hand are, undoubtedly, ‘…serious and sensitive.’

    However, the Churches’ approach could see the State being further turned into a ‘…Litigation Circus.’

    That which their legal representative appear not to understand, is the ‘…constitutional role of the Attorney General.’

    It is clearly stated that the ‘…Attorney General shall be the principal legal advisor to the government’ [Section 63: Constitution: No. 916 of 1979]. Not the governed.

    Thus, not obligated to any single or group of persons or non-governmental organizations or religious institutions.

    Apart from his ministerial responsibilities, he advises his government on ‘…legal issues.’

    Sure the Churches can litigate by themselves, then pray and march and see how ‘…The Good Lord ‘ would guide the Judiciary.

  2. Only if you believe in God Lauren, many do not, and when they die they will no more scream in agony than you will.

  3. Good on the churches wanting to represent. Everyone it seems, except for Christians are allowed to have a voice or an opinion

  4. Dear LAUREN HENDRICKSON, the patriarch had said of the Lord, “Your word is a lamp to my feet. And a light to my path”.

    Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. You have commanded us. To keep Your precepts diligently. Oh, that my ways were directed. To keep Your statutes! Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments. I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly! AND;

    How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared. All the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
    As much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. To be found at Psalm 119

    My Dear LAUREN HENDRICKSON, we now find ourselves being advised and directed by those who now cares little for “the word” and would drag us down to disaster if we follow them and their ways. But do take heart dear and remember this, that “The just shall live by his faith” Habakkuk 2:2-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

  5. What is wholesome and healthy about buggery or anal penetration that some are fighting to remove laws against it?

Comments are closed.