Parliamentary committee deliberates on timeframe for pre-charge bail

Donna Scott-Mottley and Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Foreman
By Warren Bertram   
The issue of pre-charge bail was the main topic during the recent meeting of the Joint Select Committee considering the Bail Act 2023.
The committee deliberated over the timeframes within which an accused must be brought before a judge to determine whether they are granted or denied bail.
Opposition member Donna Scott-Mottley expressed concern about the timeline stipulated in the legislation, saying it deprives an accused of their constitutional rights for an extended period before they are brought before the courts.
"The six months for the initial investigation is still, to me, a very long period. And I would propose that we have it segmented so that if there is a period of say one month allowed for the police officer to continue his investigations and if he cannot conclude, that is the time when it should go before the judge and the judge should then have the authority to require the person suspected, the defendant to be brought back before the court in timely manner so that we can have that level of supervision," she suggested. 
Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Foreman explained that whether pre-charge bail is approved or denied is dependent on the types of offences listed in the legislation. He added that the responsible action, and a core guiding principle of the deprivation of liberty prior to conviction, is for the person to be brought before a judge within the shortest time possible. 

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