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Bail (Amendment) Act gets nod

... ‘One strike and you’re out’

The “one strike and you’re out” law is now in effect.
The Bail (Amendment) Act, 2014 was last Friday given the nod by President Anthony Carmona, the Office of the Attorney General announced in a press release yesterday.
According to the release, “Criminals who are repeat offenders will now face certain jail as they will be denied bail if they have a previous conviction”.
The Bail (Amendment) Act, 2014 targets repeat offenders and one prior conviction for a specified serious offence can result in the denial of bail for up to 120 days.
The act was piloted by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and was passed in both Houses of Parliament.
It is now the law, having been assented to by the President on February 14.
The act applies to a person who has one prior conviction for any of the serious and violent criminal offences (except capital offences) listed in Part II of the First Schedule to the Act.
When such a person is released from prison, if he or she is arrested and charged with committing another serious and violent crime within the next ten years after the date he or she left prison, bail can be denied for up to 120 days.
After that period, if the prosecution has not started its case, the offender can apply to a judge for bail.
“Thus this act will restrict, but not completely take away, the right to bail in relation to a specified category of offences,” the Office of the Attorney General stated.
“It will also provide a constitutional safeguard against abuse of power by giving the person a right to apply to the Court for bail after 120 days in cases where the prosecution fails to starts its case.”
Secondly, where a person is out on bail for any offence but is subsequently convicted for one of the serious and violent criminal offences under this act or the Anti-Gang Act, the court will have the power to reconsider bail in respect of any pending charge.
“The court may revoke bail or change the bail conditions in respect of the pending charge, in light of the conviction of a serious and violent criminal offence under this act or the Anti-Gang Act.
“A person coming into this country with a criminal record and committing a serious and violent offence would also be caught by provisions in this law.”
“A foreign or local offender who repeats his criminal conduct here in relation to serious offences would be denied bail for up to 120 days,” the release stated.

What the Bill says

The serious and violent crimes to which the Act applies are:
(a) An offence under the Firearms Act which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of ten years or more, or an offence under section 8, 9 or 10 of that Act;
(b) An offence under the Larceny Act which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of ten years or more;
(c) An offence under the Malicious Damage Act which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of ten years or more;
(d) A sexual offence in which the alleged victim is a child, including a sexual offence under the Sexual Offences Act or the Children Act, 2012 or any Act repealing and replacing any of those Acts;
(e) An offence under the Sexual Offences Act which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of ten years or more;
(f) An offence under the Offences Against the Person Act which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of ten years or more, or an offence under section 48 or 54 of that Act;
(g) An offence under the Dangerous Drugs Act which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of ten years or more;
(h) An offence under the Trafficking in Persons Act, 2011 which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of ten years or more;
(i) Perverting or defeating the course of public justice;
(j) An attempt to commit an offence listed in this Part or Part I of this Schedule.
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