On Monday night we heard the concerns that two attorneys raised over the new amendments to the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act. Attorneys Dickie Bradley and Anthony Sylvestre say that the stringent law not only infringes on the rights of the accused, but also places a heavy burden on their family because meeting bail is now made much more difficult by the amended legislation.
Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney
ďThe amendment now mandates, now requires that look, if you apply for bail and you are granted bail, you can only get bail on certain conditions and one of those conditions is that you must provide landed property which simply means that you have to own property or you have to know somebody who own wah property and willing to put it up for yoh. Now Marion, you know in Belize, not that many people, about ten percent of our population owns their own property. Well the poor people definitely donít own property, exactly.Ē
Dickie Bradley, Attorney
ďBecause it says, letís jump straight into it. That provision Anthony is referring to also speaks about the equivalent in money. If you get a bail for twelve thousand dollars, you have to have land paper. If you donjt have land paper, itís just like yoh noh get bail, just like yoh noh get bail. Or what is going to happen is that in our time we did make an amendment and thankful to Judge Lucas for reminding me of that. We did make an amendment that we can have because it was a criminal offence for somebody to say gial give me wah three hundred dollars and I wah use mi land paper fi bail yoh. That was a criminal offense you know. That was amended and it was allowed for people to be what in America they call bail bondsmen. You can say for every thousand dollars of your bail you give me a hundred and I will use my land paper. Although the details of that had not been fleshed out as yet, but if you canít do that, the next best thing is you have to go find twelve thousand dollars ina cash fi go deposit ina the government treasury to get bail. Letís look at the other provisions. That is a big one for us. For people like: me, Anthony, Kevin Arthurs, Hubert Elrington, Simeon Sampson, Tricia Pitts; all of us who are in this business of ever so often on behalf of citizens and clients we have to make an application to get bail, itís painful to see what poor people go through. Listen as lawyers, Anthony and I will make more money with a law like this because more people would be desperate to get lawyers. But this is not about that man. This is a serious matter.Ē
The amended Crime Control Act came into law in December, but has now only come in circulation.