Protection Of Law
| The constitution and laws of Belize
6. (1) All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.
(2) If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law.
(3) 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 the understands, of the nature and particulars 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 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.
and except with his own consent the trial shall not take place in his and except with his own consent the trial shall not take place in his absence 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:
Provided that the trial may take place in his absence in any case in which it is so provide by a law under which he is entitled to adequate notice of the charge and the date, time and place of the trial and to a reasonable opportunity or appearing before the court.
(4) A person shall not 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 sich an offence, and not penalty shall be imposed for any criminal 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) A person who shows that he has been tried by a competent court for a criminal offence and either convicted or acquitted shall not again be tried for that offence or for any other criminal offence if 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) A person who is tried for a criminal offence shall not be compelled to give evidence at the trial.
(7) 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 person before such a court or other authority, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time.
(8) Except with the agreement of all the 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.
(9) Nothing in subsection (8) of this section shall prevent the court or other adjudicating authority from excluding from the proceedings persons other than the parties thereto and the legal practitioners representing them to such 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 interest 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 or public order.
(10) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of-
a. subsection (3)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 (3)e. of 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.
(11) In the case of any person who is held in lawful detention the provisions of subsection (2) and paragraphs (d.) and (e.) of 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.
(12) In this section"criminal offence" means a criminal offence under a law.
Constitution of Belize
Chapter I - The State And The Constitution
1. The State
Chapter II - Protection Of Fundamental Rights And Freedoms
Chapter III - Citizenship
Chapter IV - The Governor-general
Chapter V - The Executive
37. Prime Minister
42. Attorney General
45. Deputy Minister
Chapter VI - The Legislature
The House Of Representatives
Powers And Procedure
Chapter VII - The Judiciary
Chapter VIII - The Public Service
109. Auditor General
Chapter IX - Finance
117. Contingencies Fund
119. Public Debt
Chapter X - Miscellaneous
121. Code of conduct
122. National Symbols
125. Removal from office
130. National Seal
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