Bar Council Concerned About Some Proposals

June 24, 2015

The Bermuda Bar Council said while they are in general support of the Attorney General’s push to modernise the criminal justice system, some of the specific proposals being put forward “are a cause for concern.”

Bar Council President Richard Horseman said, “Bar Council wish to reply to the comments by the Attorney General that the proposed criminal legislation reforms had the full support of Bar Council. While Bar Council is in general support of the Attorney General’s push to modernise the criminal justice system, some of the specific proposals being put forward by the Attorney General are a cause for concern.

“On 22nd December 2014, Bar Council received an outline of the proposed reforms by email and was asked to give its comments in relation to the proposed changes. A deadline of 16th January 2015 was imposed by the offices of the Attorney General for Bar Council to respond to these significant, far reaching, proposed changes to the criminal law.

“The length of time granted for the Bar Council to consider these changes and give a reasoned response was unrealistic. As such, Bar Council requested additional time in which to properly consider the proposed changes as it soon became apparent that it was not an exercise that could be conducted in a contracted time frame.

“On 6th February 2015, Bar Council received an email from the Attorney General’s Chambers citing specific areas of U.K. legislation that the Government intended to bring into force in Bermuda. The actual proposed draft legislation was not provided to Bar Council for consideration until 16th February 2015. As a result, Bar Council sought extensions of time in which to consider the draft Bills. Those extensions of time were agreed to by the Attorney General.

“Bar Council appointed a sub-committee consisting of Richard Horseman, Saul Froomkin, Elizabeth Christopher, Larry Mussenden, Susan Mulligan as well as Venous Memari on the behalf of Centre for Justice to consider the proposed legislative changes.

“On 18th March 2015, the sub-committee finalised its report and a 27 page letter was forwarded to the Attorney General signed by Richard Horseman in his capacity, at the time, of Vice-President of the Bermuda Bar Association.

“It is important to note that the response was not the commentary of one or two members of the subcommittee but rather a considered response by the sub-committee as a whole, and adopted by Bar Council. The response by the Bermuda Bar Association was submitted to the Attorney General in a timely manner, expedited due to the substantial issues raised by the proposed legislation.

“The position of the Bar Council was set out in writing on 18th March 2015 when the response and objections of Bar Council on behalf of the Bermuda Bar Association were submitted to the Attorney General. Those objections and concerns remain the same today.

“Bar Council wishes to reiterate that it supports all attempts by the Government to modernise our criminal justice system but there are certain proposals that Bar Council does not support in its current form,” added Mr. Horseman.

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Comments (6)

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  1. watching says:

    Seems Moniz misrepresented to Parliament the support for the bills in an attempt to push them through.

  2. Raymond NOT the reg says:

    Dear Watching

    I humbly Agree with you

  3. Serious Though says:

    Same stuff .. force it through the political system apologize later ..

  4. enough says:

    All defense counsel I see….While I’m sure able to be professional and objective, they must have natural tendencies and, of course, businesses to protect. Maybe Mulligan was still DPP when this was started, I can’t remember.
    I’d have liked to see Cindy Clarke or at least someone with some gravitas on the prosecutorial side to provide some balance to that committee.
    Justice and the right of individuals to due process is absolute, but I genuinely believe the rights of the accused now vastly outweigh that of the victim and potential future victims’.
    I don’t agree wholesale with the proposed amendments, but it’s time the pendulum swung back a little ways.