General Guidance For A Formal Police Caution

December 12, 2018

Larry Mussenden Bermuda December 2018Director of Public Prosecution Larry Mussenden has released the General Guidance for a Formal Police Caution, which is “designed to steer offenders away from the Courts for low level offences with all the consequences arising from convictions.”

Mr Mussenden said, “In 2016 Parliament passed the Police and Criminal Evidence Amendment Act 2016 which made provision for the Director of Public Prosecutions to give a guidance for a formal police caution for appropriate offences.

“Today, I am pleased to release this General Guidance for a Formal Police Caution. It is designed to steer offenders away from the Courts for low level offences with all the consequences arising from convictions. However, repeat offenders will not be granted cautions so easily as we will not hesitate to prosecute such offenders.

“The General Guidance is designed to allow our people and particularly younger people the opportunity to pursue their life and career objectives and to be productive, healthy and successful members of the community.

“Pursuant to section 36A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 2006 [PACE], I have drafted a general guidance for a police caution policy for a range of summary offences that are dealt with only in the Magistrates’ Courts.

“Guidance is also issued pursuant to PACE section 37 to make members of the Bermuda Police service aware of what information is to be provided to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Crown Counsel to enable a charging or other decision to be made.

“I have consulted with the Commissioner of Police and his team and I am grateful for their replies and for their support of the Guidance.

“The key points of the General Guidance are as follows:

  • 1. The Police can charge someone of a Summary Offence without consulting my office except for some specified offences in Appendix A.
  • 2. Where the police make a decision to charge, that decision is always subject to review by my office.
  • 3. The Guidance sets out the information required by my office in order to consider charges against a person.
  • 4. The Guidance sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Director and the police.
  • 5. The Guidance sets out examples of mitigating factors and aggravating factors to be taken into account for specified offences.
  • 6. The police must proceed in accordance with any charging decision made by my office.

“Going forward, I will consider a Guidance for cautions for other offences as well as taking a restorative justice approach for certain kinds of cases that aims to resolve issues between parties without the need for putting them in Court.

“I welcome any ideas from individuals or agencies on this topic. On behalf of my Department, I extend Happy Holidays and Best wishes in the New Year to all.”

The full General Guidance for a Formal Police Caution follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (4)

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  1. MM says:

    I believe this is a very very important step to assist persons who have committed what is termed a low level offence. It is a lengthy piece of legislation which I did not read. It will be interesting how many law makers and lawyers comment on this. For many years folks could not move on with their lives due to a relatively minor offence , they can tell their heart breaking story when they now look back and realised the gravity of their mistake. Thanks to those who fought hard to bring forth this legislation.

  2. eyes wide open says:

    2006???…and it’s took 12 freaking years to draft for Bermuda Police guidance?

  3. Lynne Winfield says:

    This is good news. Not only for low level offences but for our young men who often make mistakes and take risks before they fully mature. Many of us have done something stupid as a young person… we were the fortunate ones and weren’t caught. This is a very positive sign this island is moving towards Restorative Justice solutions in our criminal justice system.

  4. NO MORE WAR says:

    I’m confused. Doesn’t the DPP already decide who goes to court or not? At the end of the day the document speaks what seems to already be the case. The DPP places before the court who it feels should be whether it’s that person’s first or third offense. I think that a process should be put in place to remove such power from the DPP to stop this friends and family of the DPP do not go to court. There’s needs to be in place a system to hold the DPP accountable for their actions or lack there of. As it stands they can refuse a charge without the complainant or their lawyer having written reasons why and that just doesn’t seem ethical. One should always beavke to stand by a honest decision.