For the first time since the proclamation of the Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) (Amendment) Act last year, the court has ordered an alleged offender to wear the device as a condition of his bail.
The landmark court order made on Friday by Master Sherene Murray-Bailey came after recent calls were made for the courts to enforce the electronic monitoring legislation.
In a statement, the Judiciary said all parties to the proceedings appeared virtually and the applicant sought and was granted bail conditional on being fitted with an electronic monitoring device.
The applicant has been restricted from contacting the virtual complainant, from entering certain areas at any time, and must reside at a specified residence until the final determination of the court matters.
Between 8 pm to 6 am every day for the duration of the court order, the applicant must remain at the specific premises. The applicant also has to report to the police station every Wednesday and Saturday between 6 am to 8 pm.
Before the order was granted, the court undertook a virtual viewing of the premises and determined that it was suitable and was supplied with electricity and had internet access.
“The electronic monitoring system will help to ensure that the conditions are met as any breach will cause an electronic alarm indicating the nature and location of the breach of the conditions to sound, notifying the members of the Electronic Monitoring Unit of the Ministry of National Security,” the release from the Judiciary stated.
If the applicant fails to comply with any of the terms of the order, it may result in the court making any order it deems appropriate and the revocation of bail.
Attorney Giselle Heller represented the state while the applicant was represented by attorney Shyline Barlow.
Chairman of the Caribbean Committee Against Sex Crimes attorney Jonathan Bhagan is happy the Judiciary finally put the device to use.
“It is positive but I would hope that it wasn’t the media’s bringing it to light that caused the Judiciary to act. If it is so then the Judiciary would need more funding for people to keep up to date with the laws because you know that was passed last year,” he said.
Bhagan called for a review of certain sex matters to include the electronic device as a condition of bail.
“There are some sexual offence cases where the child predators alleged to have raped two and three young boys. I hope people like them have their bail reassessed to include the electronic monitoring,” he said.
While he understands that the intricacies of the electronic monitoring system cannot be disclosed, he is hoping that it functions well.
“I would just hope that it is up to first-world standards because Faris (Al-Rawi) just said it is operational but we have no idea. There is a lawyers’ chat and we were discussing, there are things like geofencing so if they cross a certain boundary they get an automated software trigger or if they go by the victim’s house. So I hope it is working that way so the police don’t have to sit down and watch a screen to see what is going on.”
The Act was assented to on May 12 and proclaimed on September 18, 2020.