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By J. Brock (FINN)

The next stage of development for the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Bill and the Crimes Bill began with the Bills being placed in the Gazette on the 15th August 2014. The Bills are intended to overhaul and to modernise the criminal justice system in the Falkland Islands and are part of the Falkland Islands Government’s on-going commitment to improve laws in the Islands. Known collectively as the Criminal Justice Bills, the two Draft Bills will be put before the Legislative Assembly on 28th August, where it is expected that MLA Roger Edwards, Portfolio Holder for Legal Services, will put forth a Motion for the Criminal Justice Bills to move to Select Committee. Should the Motion be accepted by the House, it is anticipated that the Select Committee process will be begin on 4th September 2014 and run for ten sessions concluding on 3rd October 2014.

As part of the process to develop and review the Bills prior to them being formalised into law, the Attorney General’s Chambers are keen to hear the views of the public regarding the proposals. A Public Meeting will be held at Fox Bay in the morning of Friday 29th August and another in Stanley on Monday 1st September. All are welcome to attend these meetings and discuss the Bills and what they will mean for the Islands. A separate focus group session with key stakeholders will also be scheduled at a date to be confirmed.

Carefully designed and considered to protect the sense of community in the Falkland Islands, the Criminal Justice Bills have been and to reflect the needs and values of our community, and these improvements to the law are part of a larger, sustained programme of work and investment to revise and update legislation in the Islands. The Crimes Bill will bring our laws up-to-date against best practice internationally, and whilst it draws from established United Kingdom laws, the Bill has been prepared in a way that reflects the needs of the Falkland Islands, rather than simply lifting legislation from elsewhere. The Bill will consolidate the majority of existing criminal law in the Islands, and should be a comprehensive piece of legislation that is easier for the community and for legal advisers to access and understand.

The Criminal Procedure & Evidence Bill will become a full body of law for the Islands, covering every step of the process from first investigation.

Digital copies of the Criminal Justice Bills are available on request from the Attorney General's Chambers but please be mindful that the documents are in excess of 1,500 pages long. Alternatively, a hard copy is available for viewing only at the Public Library.

If any members of the public would like to comment or make suggestions relating to the new Bills, please could they be returned in writing to Gillian Curl, Attorney General’s Chambers, Stanley or crowncounsel@sec.gov.fk on or before 17th September 2014.

For further information regarding this press statement, please contact the PR & Media Office on +500 27400. To request a copy of the proposed Select Committee schedule, or a copy of the Criminal Justice Bills briefing note, please email prmanager@sec.gov.fk

Source: FIG Press Release 20th August 2014

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