Jamaica
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Malahoo Forte defends provisions under new Bail Act

Minister of Legal & Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte is challenging claims by critics that the proposed Bail Act may be in contravention of Jamaica's Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

Last week, Lecturer at the Norman Manley Law School, attorney-at-law, Meridan Kohler argued that the conditions prescribed under the new Bail Act do not allow persons who are to be held on pre-charge bail an opportunity to argue that bail should be allowed before they are detained.

She told the Joint Select Committee reviewing the Bail Act that the provisions of the bill are likely to be found in violation of the charter.

But speaking with Radio Jamaica News, Mrs Malahoo Forte defended the provisions in the bill and insisted that they will meet the constitutional test.

If approved, persons accused of serious crimes under the new law will be denied bail.

Mrs Malahoo Forte argued that the government will ensure that the new law is constitutionally sound before bringing it to Parliament "I know there is excitement about a law that is to come, bear in mind that a lot has to be done behind the scenes before the law gets to parliament."