Categorized | National News

Coroner’s Act “Glaringly Deficient”

Now that the Coroner’s Amendment Bill 2014 was passed in the House of Assembly, the Coroner’s Court is one step closer to being able to rule a death a homicide, this according to State Minister for Legal Affairs Damien Gomez who said this particular court is severely deficient in this regard.

As it stands now, Minister Gomez said the current Coroner’s Act is contributing to the backlog of cases at that court level as well as wasted court hours.

He said these are just a few reasons why amendments are being made to the act.

“The current Coroner’s Act is glaringly deficient in the matters in which there is clearly a case of homicide,” he said. “The current Coroner’s Act repealed the pre-existing law which provided for the jurisdiction which we are now introducing in the law related to the coroner.”

Mr. Gomez said this will help to save judicial time because the coroner’s inquest is then treated as a preliminary inquiry and a separate inquiry is not required.

“That is a major saving in judicial time,” he added. “And we are about ensuring that the criminal justice process is sped up as much as possible.”

Right now the coroner cannot determine whether a death is a homicide and cannot rule on criminal or civil liability.

The law right now does provide for the coroner, though to make a recommendation to a higher court on whether or not a case should be criminally pursued.

Also debated was the Evidence Amendment Bill 2014 that Mr. Gomez said will introduce new age and more protective evidence gathering tactics like video link testimonies for witnesses who have been intimidated.

“This is a new day and the technology in the courts will now meet the challenges of a modern society and the challenges which prosecutors face on a daily basis,” he added.

These bills were two of four crime bills debated and passed in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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