General / Weekend News

Firearm Bill and Legal Professional Bill tabled at House Sitting

By Alexis R. Milan, Staff Reporter

There were two bills tabled at Friday’s House Sitting namely, the Firearms Amendment Bill, the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Bill and the Legal Professional Bill.

The Firearms Amendment Bill entails legislation regarding who is considered responsible and arrested when a firearm is found. The Crime Control and Criminal Justice Bill details the specifics of bail for
firearm offences.

While the bills have been tabled Prime Minister Dean Barrow said the drafting of the bills is a work in progress. “I think it is getting at the central aspects of the current law that need to be fixed so perhaps we could have taken the chance and simply passed it today, but I think it has to be better to wait for a couple
week,” Barrow said.

“We are going to try to come back to the house as soon as
Independence to give people a chance to have their say and if there is more fixing that we have come up with that needs to be done then let’s try to get it right by the time we come back for second and third readings,” he added.
According to Barrow they are looking particularly at the provision in the law which, allows for every person in a household to be arrested
and charged for any firearm found on that premises. “That is one aspect that’s being dealt with, the question of joint possession and
trying to ensure that there is not this automatic joint possession charge,” Barrow continued.

Barrow also indicated that they would be making changes to the provision which says that a person can be granted bail 14 days after being arrested so that persons with no known gang connections can be released before.
The Legal Professional Bill seeks to install the Chief Justice as the chairman of the General Legal Council and would make it so that lawyers are no longer required to join the Bar Association.

“Principally we will still look to the Bar Association, but very simply it means that I can practice law without paying the fee and without joining the Bar Association,” Barrow explained. The Prime
Minister also indicated that he would resign from the Bar and stop paying his fee.

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