Attorney-General: ‘Diversion From Prosecution’

March 21, 2015

The Ministry of Legal Affairs and Ministry of National Security will “look to incorporating a philosophical focus on ‘diversion from prosecution’ to our criminal justice system,” Attorney-General Trevor Moniz said.

While delivering the Budget Brief in the House of Assembly, the Attorney-General said, “The Chief Justice discussed before the legal profession at the 2014 Start of the Legal Year Bermuda’s relatively high levels of incarceration. Honourable Members will note the success of our Electronic Monitoring Device [EDM] programme, also popularly known as “ankle bracelets”.

“These are available to those on bail and on probation. This has resulted in a decrease in the number of spaces that are being occupied in our correctional system, which in turn, feeds further savings into the budgets of both the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Ministry of National Security.

“In very much the same vein, these two Ministries will look to incorporating a philosophical focus on ‘diversion from prosecution’ to our criminal justice system. Honourable Members should recall two relevant Throne Speech Commitments: we will work with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Bermuda Police service to amend the formal Caution Policy to permit greater discretion on the part of police officers when dealing with first-time offenders who might otherwise have been charged with simple possession of cannabis.

“The Government will also examine the ramifications of fixed penalty notices for certain minor offences. Fixed penalties allow police to issue on-the-spot fines to persons committing an offence, giving them the opportunity to pay the fine out-of-court. Fixed penalties can ease the burden on the criminal justice system through the elimination of unnecessary court appearances.

“Other diversionary options under consideration include the possibility of conditional cautions and deferred prosecution agreements, both of which are recent innovations coming out of the UK.”

The Ministry of Legal Affairs Budget Brief is below [PDF here]

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Comments (12)

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  1. Onion says:

    So the OBA are more progressive on crime/rehabilitation than the former government. Marc Bean’s outrageous claims looking silly again.

    • mj says:

      The plp innitiated the “ankle Bracelet” alternative, and discussion regarding “diversion from prosecution” regarding police discretion. try to keep up..the discussions took place in the HOa already under former government.Oba is rehashing old ideas, there is nothing new coming from this present government, they were opposition for a short while and we are still waiting for their “debut”as a competent party to lead ALL Bermudians…tic toc tic toc

  2. Jr Smith says:

    money money money…. commit an offence pay up, unless you have a hookup….

  3. NO MORE WAR says:

    Honestly must we always adopt stuff from the UK.

    • Better than the US says:

      Who cares where we get ideas if they are good ideas?

      • sage says:

        Cannabis policy is too little too late, nothing good about it.

  4. mj says:

    fixed penalties are also tricky, as police will have more than discretion they will be judging people without a fair trial,..Everyone is innocent until proven guilty..Suppose police randomly accuse persons of an offense that is arguable?It would mean that fixed penalties ‘IF’ person agrees to the offence.

  5. Forethebest says:

    Where does Senator Baron, Junior Minister of National Security & Legal Affairs stand on this as Special Advisor to the Premier?

  6. Never Never says:

    OBA is so original NOT lol hahahahaha SMH

  7. As a matter of fact, personally I believe this approach in dealing with “minor crimes” is well overdue…
    Thanks once again One Bermuda Alliance for, “taking the bull by its horns”

  8. Will says:

    Could have gone so much further. The cannabis policy should have leant more towards full decriminalisation so as individuals could at least grow one without fear of prosecution also denting black market trading. As for prisons the inmates should be out doing community service. For the amount we pay for them they should be out picking litter, painting over graffiti or gardening on government property. As it is now most enjoy going west gate and Bermuda sees little benefit from incarcerating those individuals.