KUALA LUMPUR: A special court to fast track child rape, sexual abuse and child pornography cases is among the proposals drafted by the task force looking into the proposed Child Sexual Crime Bill.
The task force, set up in August, has called for special judges and prosecutors to look into the cases.
Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, in charge of parliamentary affairs, Azalina Othman Said said the task force comprised NGOs and relevant ministries.
She said police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers want the cases to be resolved within one year after the submission to the courts.
“For that, they want a special court dealing with these cases so that there are no postponements.
“We do not want the victims, usually children, to wait five to eight years.
“The evidence could be questioned and they may want to forget the incident, and sometimes the victims may want to withdraw because it may involve family members.”
She spoke to reporters after a roundtable discussion with the task force group at the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration.
The task force was set up in August after the criminal activities of British paedophile Richard Huckle came to light.
He was arrested by Britain’s National Crime Agency after a tip-off from Australian police and was later convicted of 71 counts of serious sexual assaults against children while posing as a teacher, photographer and devout Christian in Malaysia.
Huckle has been described as Britain’s worst ever paedophile by both the media and the prosecution team, despite being only 28 years old at the time of his arrest.
In June, he was given 22 life sentences with a minimum prison term of 25 years before being eligible to apply for parole.
The Pengerang MP said the task force also wanted specialised judges and prosecutors to handle the cases, as seen in the UK courts, where child sexual abuse cases were handled by judges and law experts in the field.
As for penalties, she said they were recommending for a perpetrator to be charged under the Penal Code, Child Act (Amendment) 2016 and other Acts so that the punishments under the various laws are viewed together to give a longer sentence.
She said it was crucial to have a new law that would recognise the existence of crimes perpetrated via the social media and Internet.
“We have to draw up certain laws, especially on child grooming, where perpetrators befriend and establish an emotional connection with a child through social media.
“They develop the relationship through trust. We need to create awareness on this danger.”
The task force will also look into Tor, which is also called the dark web, deep web or dark net.
This is a hidden part of the Internet that cannot be reached via traditional search engines, and has become a perfect tool for paedophiles to share pictures and videos of children.
The Act will also look at the definition of position of trust, which includes family members, people who handle children, such as school coaches or anyone whom the child comes in contact with.
“The Act comes into play the moment the child is in contact with someone. It is a preventive Act,” she pointed out.
The second draft of the Bill has been completed and Azalina said it would be brought to the Parliamentary Policy Committee for policy direction.
Once the draft is approved, it will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval and the AG’s Chambers for any revision. Upon approval, she said, it will be taken back to the NGOs and stakeholders for discussion.
The first draft was drawn up on Sept 6.
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