Restorative justice bill tabled
Some petty criminals could escape prison sentences or even avoid getting criminal records altogether, based on legislation brought to Parliament.
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck yesterday tabled the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Amendment) (Restorative Justice) Bill 2016 in the House of Representatives.
The legislation will amend the Criminal Justice (Reform) Child Care and Protection, Correction acts as well as the 1978 Parole Rules.
The justice ministry said restorative justice is a process where parties in a dispute come together to deal with the aftermath of an offence.
The proposed law states that restorative justice may be considered before trial for all offences for which persons can be imprisoned for no longer than three years.
Some cases of theft involving servants, conversion, tenants and agricultural products or livestock can be considered for restorative justice before being placed before a court for trial.
In other cases which do not get automatic consideration, a court may make a restorative justice order before the trial or before sentencing.
The consent of the offender and victim is critical to the process.
The Government is hoping that the proposed changes will limit the flow of cases into a system now overburdened by more than 400,000 cases.