A high court judge has ruled that it is legal for two male adults to have sexual intercourse.
The final landmark ruling was handed down in the Port of Spain High Court by Justice Devindra Rampersad on Thursday in the case of Trinidad-born Jason Jones, a gay rights activist, who successfully challenged certain sections of the Sexual Offences Act.
In April, Rampersad had ruled that sections 13 and 16 of the act which criminalized sexual relations between consulting adults of the same sex were unconstitutional.
He said the constitutional rights of those who wished to engage in anal sex and serious indecency in private were infringed.
The judge did not immediately strike down the sections then, but invited further legal submissions.
And on Thursday (Sept. 20, 2018), he gave his final ruling and also refused to grant a stay of execution of the declarations so the State can appeal his decision, which it still intends to do.
The ruling means that there is no longer the chance of criminal sanctions being imposed.
In delivering the judgement, Justice Rampersad said he took the decision to not strike out the sections of the law in its entirety since he believed that by doing so, he would have “created a window for further litigation.”
Following the ruling, the state’s attorney Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein, asked the judge to grant a 45-day stay on the order since his client intended to appeal the decision.
He pointed out that this appeal was not because the state had any issue with adults engaging in such activities in private, but because the issue needed to be settled and the only way this could be was if the matter were appealed to the London-based Privy Council.
Hosein said he was asking for the stay since if the acts were declared as being lawful, then there would be repercussions when it came to prosecuting those who may be before the courts charged with the offences.
However, attorney Rishi Dass, who appeared on behalf of Jones, objected to the request that a stay be granted, saying that the record showed that no one in T&T had ever being charged with committing such offenses after it was carried out with consent.
After hearing submissions broth both sides, Justice Rampersad said he was in agreement with Dass since to the best of his knowledge, no such prosecution had ever taken place, nor if there is anyone currently before the courts charged with such offense.
Attorney General Faris-al-Rawi said the ruling would be appealed to the Privy Council.
Many religious leaders and certain sections of the society have expressed deep concern about the ruling that sex between consenting male adults was no longer illegal.