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The claimants, Javin Johnson, left, and Sean Macleish.
The claimants, Javin Johnson, left, and Sean Macleish.
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The High Court has dismissed the case brought by Javin Johnson and Sean Macleish, two gay Vincentian men living overseas, challenging the nation’s buggery and gross indecency law.

Among other things, Justice Esco Henry in a ruling handed down moments ago, held that the men had no legal standing to bring the claims in light of the fact that they live overseas and have not lived in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) for some time. 

She also dismissed the men’s argument that they had been forced to leave SVGbecause of their sexual orientation.

The court upheld the government’s argument that the laws are reasonably required for public health and morality. 

“… to my mind, the thought of a public health crisis occasioned by an unstemmed deluge of new HIV cases, is a real and serious concern which reasonably justifies a public health response of the kind embedded in the challenged provisions,” the judge said. 

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She said she recognises that all states do not have the same measure of resources to tackle the myriad of health and other issues confronting them. 

“Without judgment, I take judicial notice of the notoriously known inadequacies of the current health care capabilities in the state amidst the increasing demands on it. I am satisfied that the policy issues which dictate the state’s response are matters best left to the state.”
The judge said that in all the circumstances and in light of her observations she had no doubt that the approach adopted by the state in relation to public health and public morality concerns on the issue “has a rational connection to the stated objective, and within the context of this state’s limited resources and the mores relied on, is most likely the least drastic means to achieve that goal”.

Justice Henry, therefore, made no finding that the challenged provisions infringe either sections 9 10 of the Constitution. I

She further held that challenged provisions are not arbitrary, irrational, or contrary to the common law prohibition on irrational grounds.

The two men also contended that they were forced to leave or were expelled from the SVG by reason of the buggery and gross indecency laws and how they were allegedly treated while in the country or socially conditioned as a result. 

“I reiterate my misgivings expressed earlier regarding the claimants’ allegations of ill treatment by others,” Justice Henry said.

The judge said the claimants have not established their claim that they have been expelled and had their freedom of movement curtailed or infringed by the challenged provisions or consequences flowing from them. 

She dismissed Johnson and MacLeish’s case respectively in their entirety and ordered the men to pay the attorney general EC$$7,500 in cost.

Similar challenges to similar laws in the commonwealth Caribbean have succeeded and one legal expert, in immediate reaction to the ruling, noted that unlike in some of the other cases, the court actually heard evidence from Johnson and MacLeish. 

The defendants were the Attorney General,The Incorporated Trustees of the Seventh- Day Adventist Church, The Incorporated Trustees of the Evangelical Church of the West Indies, The New Testament Church of God, The Archbishop & Primate (Spiritual Baptist) of SVG, The Church of God SVG, The Incorporated Trustees of the New Life Ministries, The Light of Truth Church of God, Kingstown Baptist Church of SVG, Living Water Ministries International ( SVG) and Hope Evangelism Outreach Ministries.

Joseph Middleton — King’s Counsel, Peter Laverack, Jomo Thomas and Zita Barnwell appeared for the claimants. 

Solicitor General Karen Duncan, Senior Crown Counsel Cerepha Harper-Joseph, Crown Counsel Franeek Joseph and Crown Counsel Gabrielle Mayers appeared for the respondents. 

Mandella Peters and Cheryl Bailey appeared on behalf of the interested parties in Johnson’s case and Meisha Cruickshank for the interested parties in MacLeish’s claim.

Christopher Hamel-Smith and Grahame Bollers appeared for the interested party Vincy Chap.

16 replies on “Court dismisses legal challenges to SVG’s buggery laws ”

    1. These Buller men have their agenda. They want to turn Vincyland into a Buller state. We already have the highest crime rate in the world we guns are the order of the day. Citizens can’t walk the streets for fear of being killed much less to have another problem associated with Bulling. The people of the likes of the Bardo have their motives. Least our street be filled with these men. Try to figure what will happen with our crime rate when the law change. Will ordinarily Citizens take the law in their own hands? Can we deals with such immorality?

  1. Unfortunate. This is a regressive judgment lacking knowledge and foresight. Gay people are Vincy just like all of us and contribute to the country just the same.
    Religion is not and should not be, law. How many Vincentians actually adhere to OLD Biblical teachings in their day-to-day lives? It makes no sense to watch who sexing who, while corruption and other crimes are rampant.
    Churches doing nothing for murder and rape victims, single mothers and poor families but they have money to literally go to court against two gay men.
    HIV is not a gay disease, and removing these laws left by white Englishmen thousand of years ago, will not cause HIV cases to go up.
    This judgment also disadvantages all the women and girls who are at risk of contracting HIV from heterosexual men, as well as the men who are at risk of getting HIV from women. In 2024 we know how to use condoms but those statements make it seem like only gay men should do so. Smh.
    Backward any way you look at it.

  2. It’s interesting to note that none of the mainstream churches were involved, namely the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Methodist churches.

    Though I reject the health implications of buggery because they can easily be dealt with via the use condoms, the other grounds for dismissing their claim seem reasonable.

    If they can afford appeal, they may well be successful based on the precedent of other jurisdictions.

  3. The judgment of God was upheld and the life of the nation was protected , thank you for your fair and reasonable ruling 🙏

  4. The judge in her ruling stated the obvious, neither were they forced nor expelled from the state by way of actions or social conditioning. They do not reside her and as such have no legal standing to challenge the laws of the state.

    We have members of the community who are homosexual, lesbian, etc. and while they do not display it in public, etc for a few who walk around Kingstown occasionally, and no one has forced them out.

    However, in fulfilment of the Scriptures, it will happen, we have been fortunate that those persons who live here who are of that persuasion did not join the matter.

    I must reminder people, that the scriptures says 2 Timothy 3:1-8

  5. Rosa, like you na believe in love 💝💔❤️‍🔥 gel.

    What two or more consenting adults do in private that doesn’t negatively affect other people is none of your or my damn business. Let God, not the government, deal with them.

    But I don’t think the law should be changed for reasons of public as opposed to private morality and because taking buggery out of the law code would be the first step in condoning same-sex marriage and transgenderism.

    But I also don’t believe the state should tell people who to love ❤️ or not love 💕.

    I even more strongly believe that there should be a prohibition on pre-marital and extra-marital sex because our whole country, especially our precious children, are plagued with the devastating consequences of single motherhood and multiple fatherhood, practices that mock God and debase the sacred bodies he gave us.

    Men who bull and women who suck each other’s stinking pussies are no worse than heterosexual fornicators: all will end up burning🔥 in hell for eternity.

  6. This is a classical case of where natural justice and procedural fairness was done to the vexing problems of gay rights advocates who are funding the challenges around the world. In the case of Regina v Sussex, the law must not only be done but must be seen to be done.

    If the case was upheld what it would have done is to allow the minority ho rule the majority and that would have been an unconscionable decision. The gay community is not prosecuted in St Vincent and the gay community are free to do whatever it so choose in the privacy of thir homes without fear.

    The lawyers see this case as a cash cow to futher the gay agenda that is well funded by the LBGQ community around the world. Our local Gay activist who proudly claim to have an LLM in Law should take note of the decision.

  7. Bull..s if you want to fight us come down and try it don’t stone us from afar have some ba..s. You want to change the law for the rest of us.Try it, how reasonable it us for the minority to rule the majority? Don’t pollute our beaches, our stores and our minds.

  8. C.Ben-David David your contributions make intuitive sense and balanced. This is an improvement over past post on a myriad of issues.

  9. What Vincentians should be concerned with is not to bull or to bull. Bullerism is not the cause of the country having the highest crime ratev in the world. Can any one show me where the two are connected? Leave the people alone what happens in the bedroom of the nation has nothing to do with the government. This is coming from a non Buller.

  10. Veronica Timm-Grant says:

    I want to be a Buller lol. I don’t know why any sane man will want to bull something must be wrong. Who is me to tell them to change their ways. You see what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? This is a warning to would be bullers.

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