Opposition Senator, Donna Scott Mottley, says it is difficult for her to get behind the pre-charge provision of the new Bail Act.
The pre-charge provision, found in Clause 5 of the proposed Bail Act 2022, applies when someone is arrested or detained on reasonable suspicion that he/she has committed an offence that is punishable with imprisonment, and more time is needed for investigations.
Under 5 (1), the question of bail to a defendant shall be directed in accordance with this Act by a deciding official within 48 hours after the defendant is arrested or detained on reasonable grounds that the defendant has committed an offence in any case where such a defendant has not yet been charged because more time is needed to proffer charges.
Clause 6 (1) states that for the purpose of deciding the question of bail in a case falling under Section 5 (1) a, which is the pre-charge regime, the deciding official considers those matters and shall either grant bail or refuse bail. Where bail is not granted to the defendant, a constable shall bring the defendant before a judge at a parish court within 48 hours after the period limited under subsection 1.
Senator Scott-Mottley says the regime represents a restrictive approach which has failed to garner success in the past.
The Opposition Committee member adds that affording the police extended time under the Bail Act is the wrong strategy.
According to her, maximising technology is the better approach.
Senator Donna Scott Mottley.
She was speaking during Wednesday’s Joint Select Committee meeting on the Bail Act.