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Bail restrictions for murder, firearm offences coming

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Bail restrictions for murder, firearm offences coming

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No individual before the courts for murder, or a firearms offence punishable by at least ten years in prison, will be considered for bail within two years after they were charged – except in special circumstances.

As proposed by the The Bail (Amendment) Bill, 2019 being debated by Parliament today, such considerations will be heard by the Chief Justice or a Judge of the High Court assigned by the Chief Justice.

Such bail applications will not be heard by the High Court unless a period of 72 hours has expired after the application for bail is made to the court.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Dale Marshall announced these planned changes this morning as he piloted the debate on the proposed changes, which will require the support of a two thirds majority of both Houses of Parliament.

In the addition to murder and serious firearm changes, the bail application change will be for people charged with treason and high treason.

The proposed changes also specified “bail may be granted by the High Court where any person is charged with murder in circumstances connected with the discharge of that person’s official duties; the court is of the view that the strength of the evidence suggests that the accused did not commit the offence with which he is charged; or the court is satisfied on the evidence presented that the accused would be able to rely on the defence of self-defence”. (SC)