JIS News

The Senate today (September 25), approved three additional amendments to the Child Pornography (Prevention) Act 2009, which was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 22.
The Bill was first passed in the Senate on Friday, July 24, with seven amendments. It then went to the Lower House, where it was further revised and passed with an additional three amendments.
It seeks to specifically recognise and treat child pornography as a criminal offence in Jamaica and to prohibit the production, possession, importation, exportation, and distribution of child pornography, and the use of children for child pornography. Offenders may receive penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment and fines as high as $500,000.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, who had piloted the Bill in the Senate, noted that the Lower House had raised concerns regarding persons who do not come into possession of the pornographic material intentionally.
“The House, when taking this Bill, expressed concerns that an unreasonable burden was placed on persons who, without desire or intent, come into possession of child pornography and they took account of the ease with which unwanted material, such as spam, can be transmitted to anyone by the Internet,” the Senator said.
She pointed out that House members also observed that no provision had been made for situations where persons access or are in possession of child pornography for the purposes of research, study, medical, and scientific research.
The Minister reported that new provisions have been added to deal with persons who come into possession of child pornographic material, through spam and other means via the Internet.
The offences dealt with in the Bill include: visual presentations with children engaged in sexual activities; audio recordings or written material that have, as its dominant characteristic, the description, presentation or representation, for a sexual purpose, sexual activity with a child; and any visual representation, audio recording or written material that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a child.
Jamaica previously had no law which specifically treated or recognised child pornography as a distinct criminal offence. However, Jamaica has signed and ratified one of several international Conventions, including the 1999 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has resulted from international efforts to combat child pornography.
These Conventions require member states to take action to criminalise the production, possession, importation, exportation and distribution of child pornography.