The Magistrate’s Code of Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was a Bill to amend the Magistrate’s Code of Procedure Act, Cap. 3.17.
Attorney General, the Honourable Senator Vincent Byron Jr., described the Bill as a “consequential amendment following the Prison Bill, which was also passed.
“Mr. Speaker, the amendment today is for the purpose of achieving consistency with related changes occurring in the statue book,” said the attorney general. “The Magistrate’s Code of Procedure uses certain archaic references such as jailer and keeper of prisons. One of the key objectives of the Bill therefore, would be to modernize these references. In that vein, the particular sections of the Magistrate’s Code of Procedure Act would be affected by the Amendment to the Prisons Act are Sections 65, 69,109,110,197 and 216.”
Senator Byron said that “these are all important provisions setting out essential functions of the Commissioner of Corrections which would be proposed new designation”, while commenting further on the various sections listed above.
“These functions include the duty of the Commissioner of Corrections under Section 65 to take custody of prisons and to prepare a report on the state and condition of prisoners when they are delivered to the prisons,” said Minister Byron. “Under section 69, the Commissioner of Corrections must release a prisoner who has been granted bail. Section 109 provides for the circumstances where no property was found to satisfy a judgement of the court and the magistrate decide to commit the defendant to prison. In such cases the Commissioner of Corrections is to take custody of the person until such time as the sums adjudged are paid together with all other costs and charges determined by the magistrate.”
He added that section 110 provides for the discharge of prisoners after they complete payment of the sum set out in a warrant commitment and any other charges, while 197 provides for the Commissioner of Corrections to comply with an order made by a magistrate to have a prisoner presented at the court. Section 216 provides for the taking of recognizance by the Commissioner of Corrections, “in other words, the bond to appear when summons may be undertaken before the Commissioner of Corrections if the person is in prison.”
“The genesis of these proposed amendments commences with the amendment of the Prison Act. It therefore, remains for this Honourable House in its wisdom to make them appropriate adjustments to the Magistrate’s Code of Procedure Act,” said the minister. “This is in keeping with a systematic approach for the upkeep of the statute book for more efficacious and accessible laws. It is also consistent with a rational approach to the application of the principles of good democratic governance.”