Interesting Piece

Martin Henry

‘Buggery law firm’. But only for the time being. Whether by coincidence or design, on the same day (Wednesday, March 4) that the Page A1 lead headline of The Gleaner shouted ‘Buggery law firm’, the Hospitality Jamaica magazine inside the paper was bellowing even more loudly ‘Pink power’ on its front page. ‘What recession?’, the magazine story asked, ‘gays are spending’.

Describing gay advocates as “perhaps the most organised lobby in the world” the prime minister, as the lead story reported, reiterated his BBC statement “not to yield to pressure to wipe buggery from the books as crime. We are not going to yield to the pressure, whether that pressure comes from individual organisations, individuals, whether that pressure comes from foreign governments or groups of countries, to liberalise the laws as it relates to buggery”.

If Golding lasts long in office, even as long as the duration of this parliamentary term, buggery will stand up to severely test his mettle. Not only is he, and those in the Parliament who are on his side of the issue, up against “the most organised lobby”, they are up against a massive sea change in attitude on the issue. What the Germans call weltanschauung, the world view, the conception of the cosmos and of human life and values, has substantially shifted. The gay lobby didn’t create the shift; they are just riding it to the max. The Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, the pattern of thought and feeling, is not on the side of Golding’s defiant stance.

moral standards

Quite correctly, the prime minister noted in his contribution to the debate in Parliament on the Sexual Offences Bill that “every society is shaped by and defined by certain moral standards and the laws that evolve in that society are informed by a framework that the society recognises”. But it is precisely those moral standards and that framework for law which have shifted, leaving Golding stuck in a past which is no longer present, except as sentiment.

The prime minister wanted to know, “If we start to yield, if we start to liberalise in the direction that that strong organised lobby would insist that we should, then where do you draw the line?”

But the yielding, or, more correctly, the shifting, has already been long under way. We inherited our common law and statute laws – and even our Constitution – from Britain, a legal code rooted in Protestant Christianity. Britain repealed its buggery law in 1967 and has subsequently extensively ‘liberalised’ same-sex relationships stopping, for the time being, just short of marriage but allowing ‘civil partnerships’. But on a longer time line, running back to at least 150 years, our legal and political mother country has been progressively repudiating the Protestant Christian moral code on which its laws and politics have rested. The whole of the so-called developed West, with the United States lagging well behind Europe, has entered this post-Christian phase.

The Jamaica Constitution, like democratic constitutions everywhere, guarantees a range of fundamental rights and freedoms. The ‘powerful lobby’ has seized upon this opening. But the framers of the Constitution and the hundreds-year-old legal, political, cultural and religious milieu in which they did their framing had substantially different views on the delimitation of rights and freedoms than the powerful lobby and their sympathisers have. No society can hold together with limitless rights and freedoms.

gay honeymoon market

Jamaica is locked into a global economy now doing badly and controlled by powerful players which are far more ‘advanced’ in their legislation of homosexuality. And money talks loudly. The ‘Pink power’ Gleaner story blandly announced that “with some eight Jamaican gay/lesbian-friendly resorts accepting members of that community, these properties have opened themselves to tapping into the estimated US$64.5 billion annual gay market leisure spend. This will be a boost to these properties, especially during a year that is plagued with a global financial crisis. Ideally, all they have to do is concentrate on the gay honeymoon market.”

Buggery, and society in general, is heading for the future back to a pre-Christian past. As a matter of historical fact, only the three great monotheistic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have had a problem with homosexuality.

In fact, William Naphy, who has extensively researched the story, notes that a striking feature of the ancient Near East was “how few cultures seem to have any significant ‘moral’ concern about same-sex activities. Most cultures seemed to accept that males might have sexual relations with other males”.

The pantheons of gods freely copulated with whomever and whatever. It was a golden age of moral relativism where everyone’s god and lifestyle could find a place, much like today.

The admired Greeks had their pederasty, the social institution of an older man having a pubescent boy as lover under his protection and whom he would educate. There is now a political party in The Netherlands, one of the first places to legalise homosexual marriage, devoted to the legalisation of child sex. Many of the ancient legal codes which legitimated homosexuality did the same for bestiality. Hence the importance of the prime minister’s question, “Where do you draw the line?” But it is also very relevant to ask, where did this start?

In the pro-homosexual milieu of the ancient world, Old Testament law thundered: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” And, on account of the abominations, the land is defiled and will vomit out its inhabitants (Leviticus 18).

Paul, who, after Jesus Christ himself, was the most influential definer of Christianity, railed against the ‘vile passions’ that led men “to (leave) the natural use of the woman and burn in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving the penalty of their error which was due” (Romans 1:27).

reinterpretation

A part of the shifting weltanschauung and Zeitgeist is a grand theological reinterpretation of these and other nakedly plain anti-homosexual passages.

Barring another major Christian revival, and there have been many which have changed the course of history, there is a massive inevitability to the adjusting of the legal code to accommodate resurgent paganism and its proclivity for homosexuality with all the attendant consequences.

Martin Henry is a communications consultant who may be reached at medhen@gmail.com

Manslaughter conviction in Peter King death

TEN of 12 jurors yesterday Tuesday March 16, 2009 voted to convict 25-year-old Sheldon Pusey of manslaughter in the death of former trade ambassador Peter King, following three hours of what the foreman later described as “very intense” deliberations.
Pusey. to be sentenced April 1

Pusey was originally indicted on the offence of murder for the March 19, 2006 stabbing death of King, but the majority of jurors opted to convict on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The other two jurors wanted to free Pusey, a carpenter by trade.

Pusey, who sat motionless in the prisoners’ dock at the Home Circuit Court while the verdict was being announced, will be sentenced on April 1.

Following the adjournment, defence attorney Berriston ‘Berry’ Bryan told reporters that he will be appealing the verdict and that grounds for appeal should be filed by this Thursday.

“I’m going to the Court of Appeal. I don’t accept that verdict,” Bryan said. “The prosecution has suppressed evidence critical to the defence.”

The suppressed evidence to which Bryan referred is the prosecution’s decision not to tender into evidence two knives that were taken from King’s Waterloo Road, Kingston 10 home on March 20, 2006, a day after
the killing.

The prosecution, led by Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Caroline Hay, had said during the trial that the knives were not relevant to the case, as no blood or prints belonging to King or the accused were found on them.

Pusey, a resident of Gordon Town in St Andrew, had been on trial since January 19 for the murder of the 64-year-old King, whose nude, mutilated body was found in his bedroom covered by a comforter.

King’s body, with the throat slashed, had a total of 30 wounds, including four stabs and four chops, any of which could have caused his death, according to Government pathologist Dr Ere Seshiah, who gave evidence during the trial.

The defence had contended that Pusey had stabbed King but only after King drugged and attempted to sodomise him. Pusey testified that he had gone to King’s house in search of a job, when King attacked him.

But prosecution witnesses testified that on the night of the killing Pusey and King were seen coming out of King’s bedroom sporting nothing but underpants and socks and that both men went back to the room after having a meal.

Pusey was held a year after the incident and confessed to the police that he had killed King.

Yesterday, jury foreman Rudyard Williams explained that the jurors were not of the view that Pusey had gone to King’s house with the intention to kill.

In arriving at the manslaughter verdict, Williams said the 10 jurors took into consideration Pusey’s evidence that he had stabbed King.

Williams said also that the defence’s argument that King drugged Pusey would be stronger if the bottle from which Pusey had been drinking an alcoholic beverage was examined for drug residue.

He said also that the jurors felt that a third party was involved in the killing as blood found on the scene could not be identified, plus there was no match for a toe print found in the pool of blood at King’s bedside.

“Originally we had eight saying manslaughter and three saying not guilty with one saying murder. The debate was very, very intense. At one point they were even arguing,” said Williams, who noted that neither King’s nor Pusey’s sexuality was a factor in arriving at a verdict

Pusey convicted of manslaughter in Peter King case

After deliberating for three and a half hours yesterday, a jury convicted 25-year-old waiter and carpenter Sheldon Pusey of manslaughter arising from the fatal stabbing and chopping of 64-year-old Ambassador Peter King.

Senior Puisne Judge Marva McIntosh has ordered a social enquiry report on Pusey and put off sentencing to April 1. Pusey showed no sign of emotion when he heard the verdict.

The foreman of the 12-member jury, in handing down the verdict, said the jury was unanimous that Pusey was not guilty of murder. He said in respect of manslaughter, the jury was divided 10-2.

Suppression of evidence

Defence lawyer Berry Bryan said Pusey would appeal his conviction because there was alleged suppression of evidence.

Pusey, of Hopewell district, near Gordon Town, St Andrew, has been in custody since he was arrested in March 2007.

He was charged with murder, but the jury found him not guilty of murder. He was found guilty of manslaughter, the lesser offence.

The judge, in her summation, had told the jury that the three possible verdicts for them to consider were not guilty, guilty of murder or guilty of manslaughter.

The trial began on January 19 in the Home Circuit Court. The Crown called 18 witnesses to testify and alleged that on March 19 or 20, 2006, Pusey murdered King at his home at 11A Waterloo Road, St Andrew.

The body had 30 wounds, including four defensive wounds to the hands. Dr Ere Seshaiah, who performed the post-mortem, testified that there were also four stab wounds to the chest and four chop wounds to the neck. He said any of those injuries could have caused death. He said the other injuries were incisions.

Accused defence

There was no eyewitness to the murder and the Crown, which was represented by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Caroline Hay and Crown Counsel Dahlia Findlay, relied on circumstantial evidence to prove its case.

Pusey said in his defence that a man called Rupert sent him to King about a job. He said while he was at the deceased’s house on March 19, 2006, King forcefully sought to be intimate with him. Pusey said he took a knife from a cup on a bedside table and stabbed King.

barbara.gayle@gleanerjm.com