Amendments to the Offences Against the Person Act, to cover any murder committed during a housebreaking, will be tabled in the Houses of Parliament before the end of the legislative year.
Information Minister Senator Burchell Whiteman, who made the announcement at today’s (Feb. 28) post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, informed that Cabinet gave approval for the tabling of the Bill at its sitting yesterday (Feb. 27).
He explained that the amendment to the Act seeks to clarify the intention of the Jamaican legislature regarding the ambit of the categories of offences listed in section 2 (1) (d), in light of the restrictive interpretation that was given by the majority decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the case of Evon Smith versus The Queen. “Justice Minister and Attorney General Senator A.J. Nicholson indicated at the time, that it was the intention of the government to amend the Offences Against the Person Act to ensure that there could be no loophole in the interpretation of the Act in respect of murder committed in circumstances in which housebreaking was involved,” Senator Whiteman explained.
The category of murder now set out in section 2 (1) (d) has been replaced by a category of murder defined in language appropriate to cover “any murder constituted, where a person breaks and enters into a dwelling house of another or any building within the cartilage thereof and occupied therewith, with the intention of committing murder or any other felony, and murders any person therein, whether a person whom he intended, on breaking and entering, to murder, or some other person”.