St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Parliament convenes on Tuesday May 23 and a number of bills are to be tabled as a response to violent crime in the Federation that has resulted in 10 homicides for year- five on each island.
Attorney General Vincent Byron said amendments would seek to create more efficiency in the criminal justice system, empower law enforcement and act as a deterrent to crime.
“The constitution clearly outlines and supports the observance of due process of law for persons who have been accused of breaking the law. This recognition of the protection of the law to all persons is one of the hallmarks of our particular system of government within the Commonwealth Caribbean and has been zealously and jealously guarded as our justice system has developed and unfolded. The constitution is equally clear that the enjoyment of rights and freedoms by any person should not impair the rights of others or the public interest.”
Another Bill is expected to strengthen the regulatory framework for advanced passenger information, for improved monitoring of people who have committed crimes nationally and regionally.
There are also amendments to the Bail Act and the Firearms Act.
The State is seeking to remove the possibility of bail as an option in cases where capital offences with the use of a firearm have been committed.
The proposed amendment to the Firearms Act would increase the penalty for a summary offence from ten years in certain cases, to twenty years. The penalty for indictable offences to a maximum of life imprisonment.
Friday (May 12) WINN FM invited a comment from Defense Attorney Chesley Hamilton
“I will say to you that bail is a constitutional right and should not be denied unreasonably so, so whatever legislation is brought to bear in that area will have to conform with and be reasonably justified in a free and democratic society according to our constitutional edicts. So I am waiting to see how that will stack up. I am unaware though of any trend in the area where people on bail for capital offences are committing other offences and therefore I would like to see the stats on that trend because if that is the trend they are trying to resolve then they must bring the statistics to show that there is a need in that area. Otherwise certainly, if you challenge that sort of legislation it’s gonna seem to be an unreasonable bit of an over reach, encroaching in fundamental rights and freedoms.”