Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith posted three new rules for securing bail from the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, December 22, but one of the new rules may make it more difficult for the poor to meet bail.
This rules states that a person wishing to sign surety for an accused person’s bail will have to get a letter from a bank or a credit union to show that he or she has an account that covers the bail amount.
The problem with this new rule is that it may infringe on the principle of confidentiality shared between a financial institution and its clients.
Secondly, some persons may not have an account with a bank or credit union.
The other two provisions seem to be less controversial.
The first rule states that the surety must provide a valid telephone number for work or home. The second states that the surety must provide a job letter as proof of employment.
President of the Bar Association, Jacqueline Marshalleck, said that the Bar has not seen the details of any the new bail rules to the Belize Bar Association.
She says they will request a copy of the new rules and upon receipt will then notify its members so that the rules can be properly considered. The Reporter