DNA testing, modern jury system, new sexual offences act and criminal code procedures among legislation in new Law Term

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, SEPTEMBER 27TH 2012 – Reform in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force must continue and laws relating to DNA testing, sexual offences, modernization of the jury system and criminal procedures will be enacted during the new law term.

“We must face the Challenges posed by the criminal elements with new powers of surveillance and enforcement. The reform of the Police Force under its new leadership must continue so that it can properly carry out its principal duty of preventing crime,” said Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett (Nevis 11 – Nevis Reformation Party).

Resident Judge His Lordship Mr. Justice Errol Thomas (in dias) is being invited by Inspector Stephen Hector of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force to inspect the Guard of Honour at the Opening of the New Law Term. Resident Judge, His Lordship Mr. Justice Errol Thomas inspects the Guard of Honour outside the Lee Llewellyn Moore Judicial and Legal Services Complex to mark the start of the new Law Term. (Photos by Willet’s Photo)

He told the Judiciary during an address to mark the opening of the new Law Term that the effectiveness of the Courts will and must be improved and the Prison System has to be looked at with a view of urgent reform.

“Tough and intelligent action will be the order of the day,” the Attorney General told Resident Judge His Lordship Mr. Justice Errol Thomas, Magistrates and the Legal Fraternity.

Pointing out the incredibly cost to the present criminal justice system, the Attorney General, said change is needed if “we are to arrest crime effectively and at the same time protect our security and freedom the ever mounting cost of fighting crime prosecuting crime and maintaining an adequate and secured prison system is eating into our scare financial resources.”

He said legislative reform measures already Gang (Prohibition and Prevention) Act, 2011, the Evidence Act, Magistrates Code of Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2011; and the Bail Bill.

“The Government, in its effort to reform the criminal justice system, intends in the new law year to introduce into the National Assembly the following Bills: the DNA Bill, 2012 which seeks to introduce modernized procedures for DNA testing; the Jury Bill, 2012 which seeks to modernize and enhance performance of the jury system; Criminal Procedure Bill which seeks to refine the law relating to criminal procedure; the Sexual Offences Act which seeks to refine this area of the law,” said the Hon. Attorney General.

He also informed that in the new law year, his office intends to embark on a project relating to the Codification of the criminal law. At the end of this project we shall be tabling in the National Assembly a Bill entitled “The Criminal Code Bill.”

“The production of the Criminal Code is another aspect of some of the legislative reforms which the Government has initiated in relation to our criminal justice system in order to strengthen the delivery of criminal justice. My Lords I believe that those legislative reforms will go a long way in enhancing the rule of law and strengthening our justice system, and this is of paramount importance to all of us,” said Attorney General Nisbett.

During the new Law Term, a Criminal Division Court in the High Court will be launched. This is also a measure in the right direction of reforming our criminal justice system and should ensure that the dispensation of justice is enhanced.

“My Lords, as regards the Magistracy, the Government shall continue with the work it has already started of integrating the Magistracy into the Judiciary. Indeed, my lords, the National Assembly passed the Eastern Caribbean (Magistrates Agreement) Bill, 2012 into law on 14th September, 2012. This will ensure that Magistrates enjoy security of tenure,” said the Attorney General.

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