AG Seeks To Relax ‘Double Jeopardy’ Rule

Through amendments to the Miscellaneous Provisions (Criminal Proceedings) Bill, 2021, Attorney General Reginald Armour is seeking to relax the rule against double jeopardy.

In the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the Attorney General said double jeopardy provides a degree of finality and conclusiveness to defendants, victims and witnesses, and persons involved in criminal proceedings.

The rule is not a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution, but has been recognised as common law and statute for centuries.

By definition, double jeopardy is a rule which prevents a person from being tried for the same offence more than once.
Mr. Armour said the rule will not automatically gain Constitutional protection simply because it existed prior to the enactment of the Constitution, adding that abolition of the rule will not infringe on any entrenched rights. As such, a Special Majority of the House will not be needed to pass the Bill.

But MP for Chaguanas West, Dinesh Rambally, said he disagreed with the amendments to the Bill. He called the proposed relaxed measure a knee-jerk reaction to what he described as an uncontrolled spike in murders over the past few days.

The Miscellaneous Provisions (Criminal Proceedings) Bill, 2021 amends An Act to amend the Interpretation Act, Chap. 3:01, the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, Chap. 4:01, the Offences Against the Person Act, Chap. 11:08 and the Criminal Procedure Act, Chap.12:02.

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