Jomar Caines was jailed for 12 years on Tuesday for a sex attack on 10-year-old boy in a restaurant bathroom. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Jomar Caines was jailed for 12 years on Tuesday for a sex attack on 10-year-old boy in a restaurant bathroom. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 14: The case of a schizophrenic, serial sex offender has sparked calls for better ways of dealing with mentally ill criminals.

Jomar Caines was jailed for 12 years yesterday for a sex attack on 10-year-old boy in a restaurant bathroom.

Caines, 36, had previous convictions for sexually assaulting young boys dating back to 1997. And at the time he targeted the 10-year-old boy he was on probation for a previous sex offence involving a young male.

After the sentencing Caines’s lawyer Mark Pettingill called for a more modern approach to sentencing offenders with serious mental health issues.

In response, Attorney General Kim Wilson said government was already acting to address concerns.

Mr Pettingill told the Bermuda Sun: “We need to make advancements in this area. Because in the current situation it is either prison or you are on the streets. There is no half-way house.

“We do not have a residential treatment facility or unit in Bermuda that can treat Mr Caines. People who commit abhorrent crimes need to be punished but we need to make sure the criminal justice system does not become a revolving door.

“Defendants with serious mental conditions and issues need to have proper rehabilitative care and treatment. I’m not saying build a brand new centre or facility but it could be attached to MAWI or added as a part of another institution to provide specialist care to people who really need it.

“There obviously are treatment programmes in Westgate – but we need ones that are designed specifically for a particular illness or condition that an individual suffers from. That is what we don’t have and there is a hole there that needs to be filled in our system.”

Attorney General Kim Wilson told the Bermuda Sun: “For obvious reasons I would prefer not to comment on individual cases. But I can confirm there exists a sexual offender’s treatment programme at Westgate.

“In fact two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet personally with the three corrections psychologists — one of whom is in charge of the said programme. Obviously in some circumstances the offenders have deep-rooted mental health conditions which need to be addressed. That is why we announced in the Throne Speech plans to bring in a Mental Health Court.

“The aim is to address the specific care needs of the individual and make it less of an all or nothing approach.”