By KARO JESSE
USING consent as defence in sex cases against the underage is not acceptable, police prosecutor Sgt Joseph Sangam says.
The usual legal term of the offence is defilement.
Sgt Sangam in a hearing of a bail application at the Waigani Committal Court, told Magistrate Tracy Ganaii that underage sexual intercourse was a crime despite conceding consent.
“A boy and girl can have consent to involve in the act but the law says that when they are under the age of 18, it is against the law” he said.
Sgt Sangam was responding to a submission by Frank Michael seeking bail after he was detained for allegedly engaging in persistent sexual abuse with his 16-year-old girlfriend.
Michael, through his lawyer, submitted that he be granted bail because he had to finish his electrical short course at Don Bosco Technical School, he was part-taking in church activities and it was his constitutional right to apply for bail.
Magistrate Ganaii granted bail for K500 after the police prosecutor declined to oppose the application and sought tough bail conditions.
Magistrate Ganaii explained that the case was different to other cases of rape and sexual abuse because of consent involved but the law stated that consent was not an issue when the crime involved children.
Michael was ordered by the court not to interfere with witnesses and should stay 100 metres away from the complainant and her family.
It was alleged that Michael, from Nguvallin village, Kokopo in East New Britain, had sexual intercourse with his girlfriend on several occasions.
The police file claimed that both were in a relationship since June last year and were engaging in secret sexual affairs.
The matter was reported to police when the girl’s parents found out, because she was underage.
Michael was arrested and charged with child sexual abuse and detained at the Boroko Police Station. The matter was adjourned to June 3 for mention.
By KARO JESSE