Hogan Lovells advises on case aiming to decriminalise homosexuality in St Vincent

London, 29 July 2019 – Today, two gay men filed court proceedings to challenge St Vincent and the Grenadines' "buggery" and "gross indecency" laws, which criminalize homosexuality.  Both men, represented by Hogan Lovells and local counsel, assert that their dignity and autonomy are stripped by these laws.  They have filed claims with Affidavits stating that they have been exiled from the Caribbean nation due to the severely draconian and damaging effects of these laws.

Javin Johnson, aged 22, successfully claimed asylum in the United Kingdom in 2017, having established that he could not live as a gay man in St Vincent.  Sean Macleish, aged 53, is a Vincentian resident in Chicago, Illinois.  Macleish has publicly advocated to the Caribbean nation’s Prime Minister for the removal of these laws so that he may return home with his partner, but to no effect.  

The two claimants are unknown to each other, having separately decided that now is the time for decriminalization. They say that these laws violate multiple and overlapping rights in the Constitution, which are there to protect all Vincentians. 

These court challenges come in the wake of Jason Jones' successful challenge to Trinidad and Tobago's anti-gay laws, a week after a similar challenge was filed in Dominica, and with other challenges already afoot in Jamaica and Barbados.  

The Hogan Lovells team representing the two men includes Charles Brasted, partner, Tom Smith, senior associate, and Iris Karaman, trainee solicitor, instructing counsel Jeremy Johnson QC and Peter Laverack of 5 Essex Court in London and local lawyers Jomo S Thomas (also Speaker of the House of Assembly) and Marcia S Z Barnwell.


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