Thu | Aug 5, 2021

No right of appeal draft legislation was produced during PNP rule

Published:Tuesday | June 8, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

In the editorial of June 7, it was mentioned that during my tenure as the minister of justice, “they produced draft legislation to give the prosecution the right of appeal”. That sentence is not accurate. No draft legislation was produced at that time.

As justice minister, I took two submissions to Cabinet seeking authorisation to develop legislation to give a limited right of appeal to the prosecution against sentence and against acquittal, in specific and limited circumstances. However, legislation was not developed at the time.

The two bills tabled by Minister Delroy Chuck go considerably further than what was envisaged by my two Cabinet submissions, and would create a broad range of circumstances in which the prosecution may appeal either an acquittal or sentence.

This therefore represents a significant erosion of the rule against double jeopardy.

The bills may also significantly increase the volume of criminal appeals which the Court of Appeal will have to deal with. Given the existing backlog in the Court of Appeal, this would tend to make an already bad situation, worse.

MARK GOLDING

Leader of the Opposition

President,

People’s National Party