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Trinidad and Tobago decriminalise gay sex in new ruling

A hight court judge described the colonial-era law criminalising gay sex as "unconstitutional" and "illegal"

2018-04-14

Trinidad and Tobago decriminalised gay sex this week.

High court judge Justice Devindra Rampersad overturned two colonial-era laws this week that criminalised gay sex in the Caribbean nation.

On Thursday (April 12), Rampersad ruled that Section 13 and 16 of the Caribbean nation’s Sexual Offences Act are "unconstitutional" and should be removed.

Section 13 stated that anyone who engaged in anal sex, referred to as “buggery”, faced up to 25 years in prison while section 16 said that a person who “commits an act of serious indecency” faced up to five years in prison.

In his ruling, Rampersad said: “The court declares that sections 13 and 16 of the [Sexual Offences Act] are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalise any acts constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults.”

The ruling stated that the laws violate people’s right to privacy, liberty and freedom of expression.

The news comes after Trinidad and Tobago citizen and LGBT activist Jason Jones filed a lawsuit against the government to overturn the two sections and raised almost £10,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to support his challenge.

LGBT activists have since praised the new ruling, which is a landmark move for the LGBT people.