Alarmingly, the Government has gone ahead with its plans to bring amendments to the Bail Act Chap. 4:60 and “debate it through all stages” when the Senate convenes today. The 2019 Amendment Act seeks to, inter alia, restrict bail for 120 days to persons charged with:
1. Possession of a firearm;
2. Any scheduled offence while under a pending charge for another scheduled offence; and
3. Any scheduled offence where the prosecution merely informs the court (i.e. no evidence is as yet admitted) that the person charged or any other person involved in the commission of the offence had in his possession a firearm or imitation firearm.
This means that so long as the police at the first hearing says to the magistrate that a gun was used in the commission of the alleged offence whether or not a gun was actually used, whether or not the accused knew that someone else had a gun and whether or not the police is be truthful about the use of a firearm in the crime, the accused person is automatically remanded to jail for 120 days. This is a dangerous power in the hands of the police.