A Full Court, comprising Justice Horace Marsh, Justice Patrick Brooks and Justice Leighton Pusey held on Friday that the amendments to the Bail Act were unconstitutional and made several declarations. Amendments were made to the Bail Act as the Government struggled to deal with the high crime rate and was expected to be in place for one year. The 60-day period in custody was subject to the right of the person being held to be brought before the court after seven days, and thereafter at 14-day intervals, at which time the court reviews the question of whether the person should continue to be held in custody or bail be considered. The prosecution also had the right to appeal against the granting of bail.
FORMER JUSTICE Minister Senator A.J. Nicholson, QC, has welcomed the court’s ruling that last year’s amendments to the Bail Act were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court struck down the amendments last Friday. He explained that, as leader of Opposition business, when the proposed legislation came to be debated in the Senate he advised that the People’s National Party (PNP) would not lend support to the amendments because the Government ministers who piloted the Bill failed to convince them that the amend-ments were not in breach of certain sections of the Chapter on Fundamental Rights in the Constitution.(courtesy the jamaica gleaner) It was reported then that shortly before six anti-crime bills were passed on July 9 last year, former resident magistrate Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte had acknowledged that the Interim Bail Act to provide for a 60-day detention of persons who commit serious gun and drug-related offences was draconian.
One thing is apparent , and that is that both sides of the political divide, play political games with crime when they are in opposition, recent statements from Delroy Chuch (now Justice Minister) and Peter Bunting from the PNP made them unqualified to hold any office that has to do with crime and national security.These hacks should never be privy to anything that has to do with security.
Unfortunately these are the civillian bosses of the Police force and Military, it’s a damn disgrace that these morons who disparge police and the rule of law from their perches on the opposition benches , when elected pretend that they are bastions of support for the rule of law. These guys should not even be allowed in to clean the floors of the people’s house of Parliament.
The Ruling of the Supreme Court in this matter shows a couple of things, .(1) That the Architects of this piece of legislation did not take enough legal counsel to ensure that it would pass the Constitutional smell test.(2) That Jamaica’s Judges simply does not get it. Now let me hasten to say I am not a Lawyer, and I must also add that if the piece of Legislation is Unconstitutional then the learned Judges has a duty to strike it down. Clearly from their actions they believe that it was Unconstitutional as constituted. This brings us to the meat of the matter:Who were the partners with the Government in drafting this piece of Legislation? it clearly could not be the Opposition Party in Jamaica, clearly everyone knows that they will take no action against criminality or Terror , .This left the Government with no grown ups , with whom to debate, a component important in getting the best results possible.
The Jamaican public, clearly an opinionated but nonetheless largely uninformed,uneducated public must understand that this forms part of the reason the legislation was ruled Unconstitutional. On the other hand it is Interesting to take note as we crow about the fact that our Democracy works, that we must ask ourselves ” work for whom” Does this Ruling work for the almost two Thousand people whom are slaughtered each year?. Does it work for the Hundreds of children murdered.? Does it work for the hundreds of women Raped each year? Does it work for the people living in the Garrisons whose daughters are being abused by Local thugs ,who are unable to speak out because of fear of their lives and their property.? Does it work for the people who are chased out of their homes, their homes razed with fire , or taken over by thugs.? Does it work for the Police Officers and soldiers who toil to remove the terrorists from the streets only to see them released back onto the streets as soon as they are taken in.? Does it work for the silent Jamaicans who are too scared or too powerless to openly declare that yes they do support the measures of the Government ,at least in recognizing that there needs to be tough new, appropriate Legislation enacted that have commensurate penalty for the crimes being committed. When we remove all of the aforementioned from the equation , just who should be proud of the Supreme Court’s Ruling? Is it the Elitists that reside in the Mansions above Cross Roads,or the Criminals that literally run the streets ?.
Either way this is really no great victory for deacent Jamaican people.!!!!