Draconian legislation introduced for firearm offences
… offenders could be jailed for up to 10 years
May 11, 2007
Three security Bills were yesterday tabled in Parliament by Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee.
The Bills are seeking to amend the Firearms, Juvenile Offenders and Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Acts.
Those Bills would be debated at a subsequent sitting of the National Assembly.
The amendment to the Firearms Act is seeking to make penalties for purchase or acquisition or possession of any firearm or ammunition without licence or for being in violation of the laws, more stringent.
It is also seeking to insert a new section to the Principal Act so as to provide that bail is not to be granted in certain cases, making it the fourth non-bailable offence on the statutes.
It suggests that bail may not be granted to any person arrested for certain types of firearm offences unless the prosecution has had an opportunity to intervene.
Penalties for unlawful manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, acquisition or possession of prohibited weapons and ammunition are also being looked at in the amendment.
The penalties for the use and possession of firearms or imitation firearms in certain cases are also being amended.
The Bill seeks to have the penalties amended. On summary conviction, the fine may not be less than $50,000 or more than $100,000 together with a term of imprisonment for not less than two years or more than five years.
On an indictable conviction, the fine should be no less than $150,000 or more than $500,000 together with an imprisonment term of 10 years.
The Bill for the amendment of the Juvenile Offenders Act is seeking to make provisions in the Act for the establishment or recognition of Holding Centres for Juveniles.
It is also seeking to make conditions for maintaining centres for the reception, care and custody of children and young persons under the orders of the court or for any other appropriate reasons as the Minister may determine.
These children and young persons may be under trial awaiting their appearance before the court or those who have been committed by the courts to the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) and awaiting to be escorted to the New Opportunity Corps.
Those who are inmates at the NOC and those awaiting rehabilitation and reintegration to their families and the community or such other juveniles as the Minister may by order determine are also being looked at in the amendment.
The proposed new section in the Principal Act also seeks to empower the Minister to recognise and certify institutions as Holding Centres for Juveniles.
The move by the government in the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Acts is to adjust the fines in minor offences.
These offences include driving uncertified vehicles, speeding, failing to stop when required by police in uniform, overloading of minibuses, unlighted motor vehicles, and many other traffic and minor offences.