Provision to Secure Protection of the Law

Provision to Secure Protection of The Law

PROVISION TO SECURE PROTECTION OF THE LAW

15.- 1. If any person is charged with a criminal offence then, unless the charge is withdrawn, he shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a independent and impartial court established by law.

2. Every person who is charged with a criminal offence-

a. shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty;

b. shall be informed orally and in writing as soon as reasonably practicable, in language that he understands, of the nature of the offence with which he is charged;

c. shall be given adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

d. shall be permitted to defend himself before the court in person or by a legal practitioner of his own choice;

e. shall be afforded facilities to examine in person or by his legal representative the witnesses called by the prosecution before the court and to obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his behalf before the court on the same conditions as those applying to witnesses called by the prosecution; and

f. shall be permitted to have without payment the assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand the language used at the trial of the charge, and except with his own consent the trial shall not take place in his absence-

i. except where, under the provisions of any law entitling him thereto, he is given adequate notice of the charge, the date, time and place of the trial or continuance thereof and afforded a reasonable opportunity of appearing before the court;

Provided that where the foregoing conditions have been complied with, and the court is satisfied that owing to circumstances beyond his control he cannot appear, the trial shall not take place or continue in his absence; or

ii. unless he so conducts himself as to render the continuance of the proceedings in his presence impracticable and the court has ordered him to be removed and the trial to proceed in his absence.

3. When a person is tried for a ny criminal offence the accused person or any person authorized by him in that behalf shall, if he so requires and subject to payment of such reasonable fees as may be prescribed by law, be given within a reasonable time after judgment a copy of any record of the proceedings made by or on behalf of the court.

4. No person shall be held to be guilty of a criminal offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence that is more severe in degree or description than the maximum penalty that might have been imposed for that offence at the time when it was committed.

5. No person who shows that he has been tried by a competent court for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall again be tried for that offence or for any criminal offence of which he could have been convicted at the trial for the offence, save upon the order of a superior court in the course of appeal or review proceedings relating to the conviction or acquittal.

6. No person shall be tried for a criminal offence if he shows that he has been pardoned for that offence.

7. No person who is tried for a criminal offence shall be compelled to give evidence at the trial.

8. Any court or other authority prescribed by law for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation shall be established by law and shall be independent and impartial; and where proceedings for such a determination are instituted by any persons before such a court or other authority, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time.

9. Except with the agreement of all that parties thereto, all proceedings of every court and proceedings for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation before any other authority, including the announcement of the decision of the court or other authority, shall be held in public.

10. Nothing in subsection (9) of this section shall prevent the court or other authority from excluding from the proceedings persons other than the parties thereto and the legal practitioners representing them to such an extent as the court or other authority-

a. may by law be empowered to do and may consider necessary or expedient in circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice or in interlocutory proceedings or in the interests of public morality, the welfare of persons under the age of eighteen years or the protection of the private lives of persons concerned in the proceedings; or

b. may by law be empowered or required to do in the interests of defence, public safety, public order or public morality.

11. Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of-

a. subsection (2) (a) of this section, to the extent that the law in question imposes upon any person charged with a criminal offence the burden of proving particular facts;

b. subsection (2) (e) if this section, to the extent that the law in question imposes reasonable conditions that must be satisfied if witnesses called to testify on behalf of an accused person are to be paid their expenses out of public funds; or

c. subsection (5) of this section, to the extent that the law in question authorizes a court to try a member of a disciplined force for a criminal offence notwithstanding any trial and conviction or acquittal of that member under the disciplinary law of that force so however, that any court so trying such a member and convicting him shall in sentencing him to any punishment take into account any punishment awarded him under that disciplinary law.

12. In the case of any person who is held in lawful detention, the provisions of subsection (1), paragraphs (d) and (e) of subsection (2), and subsection (3) of this section shall not apply in relation to his trial for a criminal offence under the law regulating the discipline of persons held in such detention.

13. Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (2) of this section to the extent that it authorizes the trial of a defendant by a magistrate for a summary offence to take place in the defendant's absence.

14. In this section "criminal offence" means a criminal offence under any law.

Constitution of Antigua

1. The State and its Territory
2. Constitution is Supreme Law
3. Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual
4. Protection of Right to Life
5. Protection of Right to Personal Liberty
6. Protection from Slavery and Forced Labour
7. Protection from Inhuman Treatment
8. Protection of Freedom of Movement
9. Protection from Deprivation of Property
10. Protection of Person Or Property from Arbitrary Search Or Entry
11. Protection of Freedom of Conscience
12. Protection of Freedom of Expression Including Freedom of the Press
13. Protection of Freedom of Assembly And Association
14. Protection from Discrimination On the Grounds of Race, Sex Etc.
15. Provision to Secure Protection of the Law
16. Derogations from Fundamental Rights And Freedoms Under Emergency Powers
17. Protection of Persons Detained-under Emergency Laws
18. Enforcement of Protective Provisions
19. Protection from Derogations from Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Generally
20. Declaration of Public Emergency
21. Interpretation and Savings
22. Establishment Of Office
23. Acting Governor-general
24. Oaths
25. Deputy to Governor-General
26. Public Seal
27. Establishment of Parliament
28. Composition of the Senate
29. Qualifications for Appointment as Senators
30. Disqualifications from Appointment as Senators
31. Tenure of Office of Senators
32. Appointment of Temporary Senators
33. President and Vice-president
34. Attendance of Attorney-general at Proceedings of Senate
35. Attendance at Proceedings of Senate of Ministers who are Members of the House
36. Composition of the House
37. Attendance at Proceedings of the House of Ministers who are Senators
38. Qualifications for Election as a Member of the House
39. Disqualifications from Election as a Member of the House
40. Election of Members of the House
41. Tenure of Seats of Members of the House
42. Speaker and Deputy Speaker
43. Clerks to Houses of Parliament and their Staffs
44. Determination of Questions of Membership
45. Unqualified Persons Sitting or Voting
46. Power to Make Laws
47. Alternation of this Constitution and Supreme Court Order
48. Oath of Allegiance by Members of Parliament
49. Presiding in Senate and House
50. Quorum
51. Voting
52. Mode of Exercising Legislative Power
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