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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 30, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Senator the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett has welcomed the amendments made to the Bail Act as a show of “firm commitment at the legislative level towards the crippling of the criminal elements that are trying to stifle our society by causing fear.”
The amendments made will further empower the court in the exercise of its discretion to grant bail with the option of an additional condition to be considered in the granting of bail. The Bill will also restrict the granting of bail for someone charged with manslaughter or murder by increasing the threshold of the burden of proof to the standard above the reasonable doubt; and also for a person who has been convicted of a firearm offence and has re-offended society with another firearm offence within a 10 year period.
During her presentation in the National Assembly on Wednesday, June 28, Senator Byron-Nisbett was in strong support of the amendments, particularly as it relates to the introduction of monitoring devices, also known as “ankle bracelets”.
“Recently, we’ve been plagued with a number of domestic violence issues. I think it was just last week we had about three cases of domestic violence [and] I believe the use of the ankle bracelets would give these victims that satisfaction that something is being done,” the senator added.
The Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett further noted that the use of ankle bracelets can address the issue of an overpopulated prison system, adding, “being able to have these ankle bracelets for persons who may have committed misdemeanors and have those individuals placed on house arrest, this would give that opportunity for us to decrease the number of persons within our prisons and thus be able to address that issue of the overcrowding of our prisons.”
Moreover, Senator Byron-Nisbett, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, stated that these legislative measures, that is the amendments to both the Bail Act and the Firearms Act, together with the programmes and projects being undertaken by the Government, will ensure that “the criminal element within our society continues to feel unsettled and uneasy in their plans and endeavours…and would all aid in ensuring that we bring these criminal elements to justice.”