Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 28, 2017 (SKNIS): After a robust debate in the National Assembly on June 28, the Bail (Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed into law with unanimous support.
According to Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr, the amendments to the Bail Act are absolutely necessary given the frequency with which crimes, especially those using firearms, are committed by dangerous actors in the society. This, he said, is one part of a multi-faceted approach to fighting crime.
“The Bill would further empower the court in the exercise of its discretion to grant bail [with] the option of an additional condition to be considered in the granting of bail,” Attorney General Byron stated in his debate on the Bill, adding that the accused may be required to wear a monitoring device or an ankle bracelet.
The Bill will also restrict the granting of bail for someone charged with manslaughter or murder by increasing the threshold of the burden of proof to the standard above the reasonable doubt; and also for a person who has been convicted of a firearm offense and has re-offended society with another firearm offence within a 10 year period. The fourth proposed change expands the list of offences for which “the application for bail would only be entertained by the High Court.”
The attorney general said that the amendments seek to “create more efficiency in the criminal justice sphere, further empower law enforcement, and strengthen deterrent effects to criminality.”
The Bill was introduced to the Federal Parliament on May 23, 2017.