Provisions to secure protection of law

Provisions to secure protection of law

Constitution of Bahamas

Provisions to secure protection of law.

20.- (1) If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law.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 as soon as reasonably practicable, in a language that he understands and in detail, of the nature of the offence 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, at his own expense, by a legal representative of his own choice or by a legal representative at the public expense where so provided by or under a law in force in The Bahamas ;

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

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

g) shall, when charged on information in the Supreme Court, have the right to trial by jury;

and except with his own consent the trial shall not take place in his absence unless he so conduct himself in the court 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 any 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 fee as may be prescribed by law, be given within a reasonable time after judgment a copy for the use of the accused person 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 that is severer 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 other criminal offence of which he could have been convicted at the trial for that 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 adjudicating authority prescribed by law for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right of obligation shall be established by law and shall be independent and impartial ; and where proceedings for such a determination are institute by any person before such a court or other adjudicating authority, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time.

(9) All proceeding instituted in any court for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation, including the announcement of the decision of the court, shall be held in public,

(10) Nothing in paragraph (9) of this Article shall prevent the court from excluding from the proceedings persons other than the parties thereto and their legal representatives to such extent as the court-

a) may be empowered by law so 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 of the protection of the private live of persons concerned in the proceedings ;

b) may be empowered or required by law to do so in te interests of defence, public safety of public order ; or

c) may be empowered or required to do so by rules of court and practice existing immediately before 10th July 1973 of by any law made subsequently to the extent that it makes provisions substantially to the same effect as provision contained in any such rules.

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

a) sub-paragraph (2)(a) of this Article to the extent that the law in question imposes upon any person charged with a criminal offence the burden of proving particular facts ;

b) sub-paragraph (2)(e) of this Article to the extent that the law in question imposes 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 ;

c) paragraph (5) of this Article 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 ny 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.

Constitution of Bahamas


Chapter I - The Constitution


1. The State

2. The Constitution is supreme law

Chapter II - Citizenship


3. Persons who become citizens on 10th July 1973

4. Persons who become citizens on 9th July 1974

5. Persons entitled to be registered as citizens

6. Persons born in The Bahamas after 9th July 1973

7. Persons born The Bahamas after 9th July 1973 of non-citizen parents

8. Persons born outside The Bahamas after 9th July 1973

9. Further provisions for persons born outside The Bahamas after 9th July 1973

10. Marriage to citizens of The Bahamas

11. Deprivation of citizenship

12. Renunciation of citizenship

13. Power of Parliament

14. Interpretation

Chapter III - Protection Of Fundamental Rights And Freedoms Of The Individual


15. Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual

16. Protection of right to life

17. Protection from inhuman treatment

18. Protection from slavery and forced labour

19. Protection from arbitrary arrest or detention

20. Provisions to secure protection of law

21. Protection for privacy of home and other property

22. Protection of freedom of conscience

23. Protection of freedom of expression

24. Protection of freedom of assembly and association

25. Protection of freedom of movement

26. Protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, etc.

27. Protection from deprivation of property

28. Enforcement of fundamental rights

29. Provisions for time of war or emergency

30. Saving of existing law

31. Interpretation

Chapter IV - The Governor-general


32. Establishment of office of Governor-General

33. Acting Governor-General

34. Deputy to Governor-General

35. Personal staff of Governor-General

36. Public Seal

37. Oaths to be taken by Governor-General

Chapter V - Parliament


Part 1 - Composition of Parliament


38. Establishment of Parliament

Part 2 - The Senate


39. Composition of Senate

40. Purpose of appointment of certain Senator

41. Qualifications for appointment as Senator

42. Disqualifications for appointments as Senator

43. Tenure of office of Senators

44. President and Vice-President

45. Determination of questions as to membership

Part 3 - House of Assembly


46. Composition of House of Assembly

47. Qualifications for membership of House of Assembly

48. Disqualifications for election as members of House of Assembly

49. Tenure of office of Members of House of Assembly

50. Speaker and Deputy Speaker

51. Determination of questions as to membership

Part 4 - Powers and Procedure of Parliament


52. Powers and Procedure of Parliament

53. Privileges of Parliament

54. Alteration of this Constitution

55. Regulation of procedure in Parliament

56. Presiding in the Senate and House of Assembly

57. Quorum

58. Voting

59. Introduction of Bills, etc

60. Restriction on powers of Senate as to Money Bills

61. Restriction on powers of Senate as to Bills other than Money Bills

62. Provisions relating to Articles 59, 60 and 61

63. Assent to Bills

64. Oath of allegiance

Part 5 - Summoning Prorogation and Dissolution


65. Sessions of Parliament

66. Prorogation and dissolution of Parliament

67. General election, bye-elections and appointment of Senators

Part 6 - Delimitation of Constituencies


68. Constituencies

69. Constituencies Commission

70. Procedure for review of constituencies

Chapter VI - The Executive


71. Executive Authority

72. The Cabinet

73. Appointment of Ministers

74. Tenure of office of Ministers

75. Performance of functions of Prime Minister during absence, illness or suspension

76. Temporary Ministers

77. Allocation of portfolios to Ministers

78. Functions of Attorney-General

79. Exercise of Governor-General's powers

80. Governor-General to be informed concerning matters of Government

81. Parliamentary Secretaries

82. Leader of the Opposition

83. Certain vacancies in office of Leader of the Opposition

84. Oaths to be taken by Ministers, etc

85. Leave of absence for Ministers, etc

86. Summoning of and presiding in Cabinet

87. Quorum

88. Permanent Secretaries

89. Constitution of offices, etc

90. Powers of pardon, etc

91. Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy

92. Functions of Advisory Committee

Chapter VII - The Judicature


Part 1 - The Supreme Court


93. Establishment of Supreme Court

94. Appointment of Justices of Supreme Court

95. Acting Justices

96. Tenure of office of Justice of Supreme Court

97. Oaths to be taken by Justices of Supreme Court

Part 2 - Court of Appeal


98. Establishment of Court of Appeal

99. Justices of the Court of Appeal

100. Other arrangements for appeals

101. Acting Justices of Court of Appeal

102. Tenure of office of Justices of Appeal

103. Oaths to be taken by Justices of Appeal

Part 3 - Appeals to Court of Appeal and Her Majesty in Council


104. Appeals relating to fundamental rights and freedoms

105. Appeals to Her Majesty in Council in other cases

106. Interpretation of "Court of Appeal

Chapter VIII - The Public Service


Part 1 - The Public Service Commission


107. Establishment and composition of Public Officers

Part 2 - Appointments etc. of Public Officers


108. Appointments, etc. of public officers

109. Appointments of Permanent Secretaries and certain other public officers

110. Delegation of Governor-General's powers

111. Appointments, etc. of principal representatives of The Bahamas abroad

112. Appointments on transfer in respect of certain offices

113. Appointment of Secretary to the Cabinet

Part 3 - The Public Service Board of Appeal


114. Public Service Board of Appeal

115. Appeals in discipline cases

Part 4 - The Judicial and Legal Service Commission


116. Establishment and composition of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission

117. Appointments, etc. of judicial and legal officers

Part 5 - The Police Service Commission


118. Establishment and composition of the Police Service Commission

119. Appointment of Commissioner of Police and other officers of the Police Force

120. Removal of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police

121. Removal and discipline of members of the Force

Part 6 - Pensions


122. Protection of pension rights

123. Grant and withholding of pensions, etc

124. Appeals in respect of certain decisions affecting pensions benefits

Part 7 - Miscellaneous


125. Procedure of Commissions

126. Removal from office of certain persons

127. Public Service

Chapter IX - Finance


128. Consolidated Fund

129. Estimates

130. Authority for public expenditure

131. Withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund

132. Withdrawal of money in advance of Appropriation Act

133. Contingencies Fund

134. Public Debt

135. Remuneration of Governor-General and certain other officers

136. Establishment of office and functions of Auditor-General

Chapter X - Interpretation


137. Interpretation

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