Modesty charge 'archaic,' attorney says

Defendant admonished and discharged

A man who pleaded guilty to insulting the modesty of a woman will not have a conviction recorded against him following submissions by attorney Prathna Bodden.

A related charge of threat to kill was previously left on file.

In Magistrate Grace Donalds’s court on Thursday, Crown counsel Candia James said the offense occurred in June 2013. The defendant and complainant had an argument over the well-being of their child. The man called the woman “a bitch” and made other comments, but Ms. James did not specify them in open court.

Ms. Bodden said her client accepted that words were said. “Unfortunately, there is not a counter charge for women, because she accepts that she called him words back.”

She said the defendant now faced “this archaic charge … which falls within the lowest level of offending.

“I hope that very soon this will not be part of the law. It cannot be right that women have modesty but men don’t. And there is no definition of what a woman’s modesty is.”

Ms. Bodden asked for an absolute discharge in the circumstances, which means no penalty and no conviction. The magistrate admonished and discharged the man.

The matter first came to court in November 2013. On the defendant’s fifth appearance, in June 2014, he pleaded not guilty to the charge of threat to kill but guilty to insulting the modesty of a woman. The pleas were not acceptable, and a trial date was set for February this year.

Trial could not go ahead because Ms. Bodden was in a Grand Court matter; the Crown was asked to review the threat charge again.

Earlier this month, the threat to kill charge was left on file, clearing the way for final disposal this week. A charge left on file means that charge is not proceeded with, but could be revived at a future date if circumstances warrant.

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