THE proposal by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to have a one strike and you’re out system with respect to bail for repeat offenders should be reconsidered, former criminal judge Herbert Volney said yesterday.
Volney, who spoke with the Express via telephone yesterday, said he believed that the measure is not reasonably justifiable and was just a reaction to crime that came out of desperation.
Speaking at the post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday Ramlogan announced that a number of laws are to be amended to deal with the crime scourge. Among them are the Bail Act; the Act to provide for the Death Penalty and the Jury Act. He said those who have been arrested, charged and convicted of gun crimes, gang crimes and violent crimes within the last ten years and are charged again would be denied bail. They can be held for 120 days without bail.
Regarding the Bail Act the AG said the three strikes and two strikes rule with respect to the denial of bail had not proven to be as effective as one would have liked. He said by the time police get from one conviction to another, so that the denial of bail can be triggered, it is often too late as many innocent citizens may become the victim of crimes by these persons.
Currently a person convicted on three previous occasions for certain offences such as using an imitation firearm in the pursuit of an offence, arson, receiving stolen goods, larceny of the motor vehicle and perverting or defeating the cause of justice, is denied bail for a fourth offence. Persons who are convicted of other offences, such as manslaughter, robbery, possession and use of a firearm without licence, trafficking in dangerous drugs, incest, kidnapping, kidnapping for ransom, are denied bail after two strikes.
The bail bill would require a 3/5 majority. Ramlogan said he would be sending to the Opposition a draft bill as part of the package of proposals Government had put on the table as it seeks consensus in the legislative agenda to address crime.
Volney said if he was still in Parliament he would not support the bill and called on the opposition not to either. He said given the perception of corruption in the police service the bill if it became law could be used as oppress citizens adding that early and decisive trials would be better.
Speaking on the issue as well was Senior Counsel Israel Khan who in a telephone interview said he is of the view that ten years was too wide a time span.