OPPOSITION MAKES COUNTER-PROPOSAL TO GOVERNMENT’S FLAWED BAIL AMENDMENTS

Feb 26, 2024

February 7, 2024

The Opposition today abstained during the vote to pass the Government’s dubious Bail
Amendment Bill 2024.

It is no secret that our judicial system has long been plagued by systemic deficiencies that have
resulted in lengthy waits for criminal trials. We join in the frustration of the Prime Minister and
the Commissioner of Police; however, we believe that the Government's proposed amendments
do not address the deficiencies but seek to unlawfully restrain the judiciary's discretion.
The Bail Amendment Bill does not address whether it prevents the granting of bail nor the
revocation of bail for those who breach bail conditions. This has been and remains a matter for
the courts to decide.

When used properly, the present Act already allows the Court to revoke the bail of persons who
breach conditions or commit offenses when the Court is persuaded that it is appropriate to do so.
We find the Government's Bail Amendment Bill has been a rushed knee-jerk reaction to the
unacceptable escalation in crime. It should be remembered that the Attorney General, Minister of
National Security, and the Prime Minister have all previously remarked that adjustments to the
Bail Act will not solve our crime problem. The shaky bill before us has been amended several
times in less than a week.

The Opposition raised its own amendments to address key deficiencies in the Government's Bill.
Our proposal would codify, preserve, and strengthen the Court's jurisdiction to revoke bail and
provide additional mandatory conditions for those granted bail. Most importantly, the
Opposition's amendments strengthen the existing law without interfering with the Court's
discretion.

The Government must take a more comprehensive approach to identifying the challenges and
creating effective solutions that would make a real difference. Their Bail Amendment Bill 2024
is not the right way forward.

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