HomeLocal NewsPeace order violators to pay

Peace order violators to pay

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MAGISTRATES now have the discretion to order peace order parties to deposit recognisance fee, akin to bail in criminal cases, where they have reason to force compliance with the peace order or where one may have violated a previous order, NewsDay can reveal.

Report by Charles Laiton, Senior Court Reporter

The amount could be as high as $400 depending on the nature of the case.

The civil courts have also done away with reciprocal peace orders while the deposited recognisance cash would be held by the courts for a 12-month period and refundable only when the offender is found to have complied.

An impeccable source within the Judicial Service Commission, who declined to be identified, confirmed the recent development, saying civil courts started ordering payment of recognisances two weeks ago.

“It’s not a new law, but magistrates have been exercising their discretion in not ordering peace order violators to deposit cash as recognisance to ensure they do not violate peace against applicants.

But given the level of non-compliance with court orders by some individuals, they will now be forced to keep peace or risk their cash forfeited to the State,” the source said.

Part of the Act reads: “Where a complaint on oath is made to a magistrate that any person is conducting himself violently towards, or is threating injury to, the person or property of another; or has used language or behaved in a manner likely to provoke a breach of the peace or assault;

“The magistrate may order the person against whom the complaint is made to enter into recognisance, with or without sureties, in an amount not exceeding level seven for a period not exceeding one year to keep the peace towards the complainant and refrain from doing or threatening injury to his person or property.”

Although the Act has been in existence, magistrates’ leniency in not ordering payment of recognisances had resulted in an increase of peace order violations.

The Act goes on to say: “Any person who, having been ordered to give recognisances in terms of paragraph (a) of subsection (3), refuses or fails to do so may be committed to prison for a period not exceeding one month unless such recognisances are sooner found.”

Violent individuals to be incarcerate

“Section 388 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act also empowers the magistrate to even incarcerate violent individuals if proved to have deliberately violated peace against applicants.” — Source

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