Obeah, witchcraft, attempted suicide offences for judicial review

first_imgThe Attorney General’s Chambers has announced proposals to review the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act after Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams and his team met with UK consultant Peter Pursglove, who is here under the Support for the Criminal Justice System Programme (SCJSP).UK consultant Peter PursgloveAccording to a release from the Legal Affairs Ministry on Monday, Pursglove’s proposed amendments will include the decriminalisation of some current offences and the recommendation of alternatives to imprisonment in respect of certain summary offences, especially minor and non-violent crimes.The AG’s statement has indicated that crimes such as vagabondage, vagrancy, obeah, witchcraft, roguery, criminal defamation and attempted suicide are decriminalised in other countries, and such changes have not impacted negatively on public safety. It is not clear if public consultations will be carried out to determine whether or not to effect these legal changes. However, the AG’s Chambers has said these activities are intended to impact the Criminal Justice System by increasing the use of Alternative Sentencing in the Criminal Justice System.Attorney General Basil WilliamsIt was outlined that objectives will be achieved through both amendments to existing legislation and the drafting of entirely new legislation. The statement further observed that many of these referenced offences carry a sentence of imprisonment for persons found guilty.“In such cases, decriminalising the behaviour and dealing with it outside the criminal law has not resulted in any negative impact on public safety. Other offences may no longer warrant the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment, and may now be dealt with by way of fine or other non-custodial sanctions,” the AG’s Chambers noted.The Attorney General was quoted as saying that a prison sentence is usually an inappropriate sanction, especially for non-violent, minor offences. He said various alternatives have been implemented in other jurisdictions; such as bail, seizure of travel documents, periodic reporting to Police or other authorities, electronic monitoring or curfews, and conditional and suspended sentences.last_img

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