By anguillian March 14, 2016 09:58




There is a move, for the first time in Anguilla, to provide protection for witnesses giving evidence – in criminal proceedings – to the Police and the Courts.

It is seen as an effort to encourage persons on the island to participate in a programme that would assist the law enforcement agencies to solve various crimes, while protecting the identity of persons with helpful evidence that would lead to the conviction and punishment of offenders. If this works well, it could assist in breaking the culture of silence among members of the public who are reluctant to provide information for fear that their names would be disclosed.

The proposed legislative measure is a Bill for a “Justice Protection Act 2016” now in draft form and just published on the Governor of Anguilla’s website.

The Bill makes provision for the establishment of an Anguilla Justice System Board of Management comprising three persons (including a Director) appointed by the Governor-in-Council as well as the establishment of a Justice Protection Administrative Centre.

The offences which may give rise to protection under the Justice Protection Programme include: criminal damage and related offences; drug offences; firearms and ammunition offences; hijacking; money laundering; offences against property; offences against the administration of justice; offences against the Crown and offences against public order; offences against the person; offences involving domestic violence; piracy; sexual offences; and terrorism and related offences.

The proposed Bill provides for Anguilla to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding and cooperation with a number of designated territories in relation to the Witness Protection Programme. These (British Overseas Territories) are: Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The following extract from the Bill provide some salient and useful information for the public:

Establishment of Programme
2. (1) The Governor in Council shall establish a Justice Protection Programme for the purpose of providing to participants protection and assistance.

(2) For the purposes of administering the Programme a Centre and two Agencies are established in the—
(a) Attorney General’s Chambers the Justice Protection Administrative Centre; and
(b) Police Force a—
(i) Justice Protection Investigative Agency, and
(ii) Justice Protection Protective Agency.

Constitution, functions and powers of Centre
3. (1) The Governor in Council shall appoint the following persons as officers of the Centre—
(a) a person holding a public office in the Attorney General’s Chambers shall be appointed the Director of the Centre; and
(b) any other persons holding public office as the Attorney General may consider necessary to provide services to the Centre.

(2) The Centre shall develop, manage and administer the Programme and shall, subject to the categories of persons designated in Schedule 1, be responsible for deciding whether a prospective participant is to be afforded protection and assistance under the Programme.

(3) In performing its functions under this Act, the Centre shall—
(a) arrange for the provision of safe-houses on the written recommendations of the Investigative Agency or the Protective Agency on the basis of threat assessments and risk assessments;
(b) co-ordinate and relay to appropriate authorities in designated territories, relevant information on threat and risk assessments and other related matters;
(c) determine after consultation with the Investigative Agency and the Attorney General, the level and duration of protection and assistance for a prospective participant, based on the assessments referred to in subsection (4);
(d) develop guidelines for the effective operation of the Programme;
(e) establish budgetary requirements for the Programme;
(f) liaise with appropriate overseas authorities within designated territories;
(g) liaise, where necessary, with appropriate overseas authorities other than those within designated territories;
(h) make payments in connection with the protection and assistance provided under this Act;
(i) obtain any information as may be required to determine—
(i) the financial implications of admitting a prospective participant to the Programme, and
(ii) the actual or potential civil and criminal liability of the prospective participant;
(j) require the prospective participant to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding with the Centre, detailing the terms and conditions of his or her participation in the Programme;
(k) subject to any designation under section 3(2) determine the participants in the Programme; and
(l) take cognisance of the high cost and complexity of providing adequate protection for participants. Anguilla Justice Protection Act, 2016 BILL
(4) In the performance of its functions in accordance with subsection (3)(k), the Centre shall make a determination on the basis of written assessments received from the—
(a) Attorney General;
(b) Investigative Agency; and
(c) Protective Agency;
but the Centre may, in a case of emergency, arrange for provisional entry into the Programme by a prospective participant prior to any determination.

(5) The Centre shall, in deciding whether to include a prospective participant in the Programme, have regard to—
(a) any criminal record of the prospective participant, particularly in respect of crimes of violence, and whether that record indicates a risk to the public if he or she is included in the Programme;
(b) the expected duration of the protection and assistance to be provided;
(c) the nature and importance of any relevant evidence or statement;
(d) the nature of the perceived danger to the prospective participant;
(e) the nature of the prospective participant’s relationship with other prospective participants being assessed for inclusion in the Programme;
(f) the results of any medical, psychological or psychiatric examination or evaluation of the prospective participant conducted to determine his or her suitability for inclusion in the Programme;
(g) the seriousness of the offence to which any relevant evidence or statement relates;
(h) whether there are viable alternative methods of protecting or assisting the prospective participant; and
(i) any other matters that the Centre considers relevant.

(6) Action which may be taken by the Centre to facilitate the safety and security of participants includes the following—
(a) providing any documents necessary to—
(i) establish a new identity for the participant, or
(ii) protect the participant;
(b) permitting a participant to use an assumed name in carrying out his or her duties in relation to the Programme and to carry documentation supporting the assumed name; Anguilla Justice Protection Act, 2016 BILL
(c) providing payments to or for the participant for the purpose of—
(i) meeting his or her reasonable living expenses including, where appropriate, the living expenses of his or her family, and
(ii) providing, whether directly or indirectly, other reasonable financial assistance;
(d) providing payments to the participant for the purpose of meeting costs associated with relocation;
(e) providing assistance to the participant in obtaining employment, access to education and health care; and
(f) providing other assistance to the participant with a view to ensuring that the participant becomes self-sustaining.

(7) The Centre may exercise its functions under this or any other Act through a person designated by the Centre to act on its behalf and any action taken by the Centre shall be deemed to be an administrative act.

(8) The Governor in Council may make rules governing the procedure of the Centre but, subject to those rules the Centre shall have power to regulate its own procedure.

The proposed legislation takes up some 31 pages including the Bill itself and a number of schedules and forms bearing the title of the Attorney General.

By anguillian March 14, 2016 09:58


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