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New draft law seeks for putting in place DNA data bank for sexual offenders

LAW | A national data bank for DNA of sexual offenders such as rapists, defilers and molesters could be put in place to not only document but also keep the offenders in check.

The proposal is contained in the Sexual Offences Bill 2015 that was referred back for harmonisation following the new changes that had been introduced in the bill following consultation with fears that the changes alters the original bill.

The Bill proposes in section 36 that, where accused person is convicted, court should order that their DNA sample be stored in a data bank for sexual offenders.

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“The sexual offenders data bank referred to will be kept for such purpose and at such place and shall contain such particulars as may be determined by the minister in charge,” the draft law reads in part.

The Bill was introduced by Kumi Woman MP Monicah Amoding, but suffered defeat with the many clauses that had been introduced during consultations.

The legislator was told by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah to harmonise the proposed law before returning it to Parliament for consideration.

While tabling the bill in 2015, Amoding argued that the main objective was to consolidate laws relating to sexual offences, combat sexual violence, provide for the punishment of perpetrators of sexual offences, provide for procedural and evidential requirements during trial and for other related matters.

Clause 21 of the Bill calls for disclosure of a sexual offence for those convicted of the crime.

“A person who has been convicted of a sexual offence should disclose such conviction when applying for employment which places them in a position of authority or care of children or any other vulnerable person or when offering or agreeing to take care of or supervise children or any other vulnerable person,” the draft law says.

This clause would galvanise the recent call by legislators investigating sexual violence in institutions of learning that a database of all teachers found guilty of sexually assaulting students be put in place.

In a report by a Select Committee instituted by Speaker Rebeccah Kadaga, MPs said establishment of database of all teachers found guilty of sexual violence against students would make it difficult for schools to reemploy the culprits.

The proposed law also says failure by a person seeking employment to disclose the fact of their previous convictions for a sexual offence should be punishable with a jail term of three years.

However, it isn’t the perpetrators of sexual offences to be dealt with, the Bill has provisions a person found guilty of making false allegations against another person is guilty of an offence and shall be liable to punishment on conviction to imprisonment to a term of not less than three years.

The Bill also seeks to protect victims of sexual offences, especially among children, so as to save them the hurdle or reliving their abusive experience with Section 34 noting that a victim of a sexual offence shall not be cross examined on his or her prior sexual experience except with leave of court.

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