JIS News

Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Andrew, Dr. St. Aubyn Bartlett, has urged Opposition members of the House to work with the Government, in order to pass the six anti-crime Bills currently before Parliament, aimed at stamping out crime and violence in the society.
Addressing the House of Representatives on June 9 in the debate on the Bills, Dr. Bartlett noted that while these were by no means the total solution to the country’s crime problem, they and other measures are very important.
Meanwhile, he noted that since the operations by the Security Forces in West Kingston three weeks ago, crime has abated as, criminals “seem to have gotten the message that this government will take serious action against them, and we have seen drastic reduction in criminal activities. Let us not let up on that.”
Dr. Bartlett said the House must ensure that the Security Forces can continue to carry out their work, noting that their actions have been, “quite honourable.”
“They have shown a lot of restraint, even in the period leading up to the West Kingston incursion,” he argued.
The pieces of legislation include: an Act to amend the Bail Act; an Act to further amend the Firearms Act; an Act to amend the Offences Against the Person Act; an Act to amend the Parole Act; an Act to make interim provision in relation to the grant of bail in specified circumstances; and an Act to make interim provision extending the powers of arrest and detention under Sections 50B and 50F of the Constabulary Force Act.
Meanwhile, the House, on June 8, gave the nod to regulations governing plea bargaining as well as amendments to the legal aid regulations, which will give force to the Criminal Justice (Plea Negotiations and Agreements) Act, and provide a standard structure for the conduct of plea deals.
Plea bargaining allows accused persons to plead guilty to lesser offences, or to only one or some of the offences on a multi-count indictment, in return for a lesser sentence than would be expected under the graver charges. The Legal Aid (Excepted Offences) (Amendment) Regulations will support the initiative, as it allows for persons, previously exempt, to access legal aid.

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