Breaking News: Court rules sex between two consenting males legal

It's official, sex between consenting male adults is no longer illegal. 

In April, High Court Judge Davindra Rampersad ruled that sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalises buggery and serious indecency even between consenting adults, is unconstitutional.

However, Rampersad did not make a ruling on how the law should be interpreted to give effect to his judgement.

During the hearing, Fyard Hosein, SC, who is leading the State's legal team, requested that a 45-day stay is put in place while his team prepares the State's appeal.

Hosein reiterated the position stated by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi that the State would take the case to the Privy Council for full judicial determination on the contentious issue.

The request was denied by Rampersad.

Delivering a 14-page ruling at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain this morning, Rampersad modified the legislation to introduce the element of consent.

Stating his decision was the "least intrusive" choice, Rampersad refused to strike out the legislation in its entirety. He pointed out that striking out was not necessary as there was no evidence that any citizens were prosecuted for consensual sexual activity.

Trinidadian-born British gay rights activist Jason Jones, who brought the novel constitutional challenge, was not in court for the hearing and was represented by his attorney Rishi Dass.

About the case 

Last year, Jason Jones filed the lawsuit in which he was challenging the constitutionality of sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act.

Jones, who is a resident of the United Kingdom, claimed that the long-standing legislation contravened his constitutional rights to privacy and freedom of thought and expression and was in direct contradiction to this country's international human rights obligations.  

In his 58-page judgement delivered on April 12, Rampersad agreed that the legislation contravened Jones' rights to privacy and family life. 

Although he acknowledged claims from State attorneys that the legislation has never been enforced against consenting adults, he said that did not mitigate the impact on Jones and other homosexuals, who lived in fear of being branded criminals based on their expression of love and affection. 

He suggested by allowing it to remain as valid law, Parliament helped to cultivate society's homophobic views on the issue. 

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has stated that Government intends to appeal the judgement to the country's highest appellate court, the Privy Council, to receive a comprehensive judicial determination on the controversial issue.

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