Appeals court rules against bail applications
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The Court of Appeal has ruled that it does not have the jurisdiction to hear a bail application before a person is convicted.
In a unanimous decision this morning President of the Court of Appeal Seymour Panton and Justices Hazel Harris and Dennis Morrison upheld submission that bail is a criminal matter and as such it does not fall under the Civil Procedure Rule.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Joan Barnett and Crown Counsel Michele Salmon had argued that bail application is criminal in nature so there is no right of appeal to the appeals court.
Attorney-at-Law, Bert Samuels, had applied to the court for it to hear a bail application for Lenburgh McDonald, one of the co-accused in the Barrington ‘Bossy’ Burton murder case.
A similar application was made by Attorney-at-Law Robert Fletcher, who is representing Constable Dwayne Smart.
Smart is accused of the murder of 27-year-old Kay-Ann Lamont in Yallahs Square, St Thomas last September.
The lawyers had contended that the appeals court has the jurisdiction to hear a bail application in light of the Civil Procedure Rules.
They further submitted that bail proceedings begin in the civil division of the Supreme Court pursuant to the Civil Procedure Rules and as such bail applications are civil in nature and can be taken to the Court of Appeal.
However, the three member panel dismissed those arguments.
The Court of Appeal said it has no such jurisdiction adding that the matter of bail should be taken to the Supreme Court.
The court said it will give its written judgment at a later date.
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