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Cybercrime penalties ‘too excessive’ – Hon Vanterpool

-seeking explanation behind high jail time, heavy fines
With stiffer proposed penalties for violations under the upcoming Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Amendment Act 2019, Fourth District representative in the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA), Hon Mark H. Vanterpool says legislators have to be careful that the penalties in proposed legislations are not too excessive. Photo: VINO
During the second reading of the bill, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said the new legislation brings proposals for stiffer penalties with regards to the protection of minors in the territory and the protection of user data. Photo: VINO/File
During the second reading of the bill, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said the new legislation brings proposals for stiffer penalties with regards to the protection of minors in the territory and the protection of user data. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – With stiffer proposed penalties for violations under the upcoming Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Amendment Act 2019, Fourth District representative in the Virgin Islands (VI) House of Assembly (HoA), Hon Mark H. Vanterpool says legislators have to be careful that the penalties in new legislations are not too excessive.

Speaking at the August 1, 2019, Sixth Sitting of First Session of The Fourth House of Assembly of The Virgin Islands, Hon Vanterpool says that as part of bringing the bill into fruition, it will still require rigorous combing to make sure all the basics are covered.

Explain Penalties – Hon Vanterpool

“While it is important that we look at it, we also have to [be] cautious and careful that we don’t become too excessive and I think I would want to get an explanation on some of the penalties,” Mr Vanterpool told the House.

During the second reading of the bill, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said the new legislation brings proposals for stiffer penalties with regards to the protection of minors in the territory and the protection of user data.

With jail time as high as 14 years and 500k fines, the Premier noted, “the aim is that this should be a deterrent to persons who may contemplate committing these offences.”

Other provisions were also included for harassment, stalking, grossly offensive behaviour, criminal intimidation, blackmail, criminal deception and more under the act.

‘Good on Paper’ – Hon Vanterpool

In seeking a rationale, Hon Vanterpool said, “When we’re passing these bills it sounds good, until our cousins, our brother, our friend happens to fall in it and then we realise… did I really pass that bill?”

He pointed to the recent issues such as the case with Shamoii A. Dagou, a well-known basketball player, who was on July 17, 2019, sentenced to 26 months at Her Majesty’s Prison for looting a $286.76 flat screen television in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

“Regrettably, he has to fall under that tyranny and I don’t know if something can be done about it but we need to be careful because these things are wrong, they should not happen but let’s be careful and look at how we will deal with them when they do happen.”

Hon Vanterpool, however, noted that the stiff penalties in the proposed Cybercrime Act could better serve high profile crimes such as those like the Panama Paper scandal.

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