Criminal Law Cannot be made retroactive, Bowen warns


Member of Parliament for St. Phillip South Sherfield Bowen is warning that an amendment to retroactively validate actions of the police to charge persons may cause more harm than good.

Bowen who is also an attorney is warning against applying criminal law retrospectively.

He was debating the Criminal Prosecutions Service Amendment yesterday.

Watch Bowen’s brief contribution here:

A 2017 law said only the DPP can institute criminal proceedings but since then to present, police officers have also been charing people.

A recent case found this practice to be unlawful.

The government is seeking to correct this by making all charges laid by the police in the past valid with the passage of the new law.

The question has been whether the convictions of those persons charged by the police from 2017 – present should be quashed.

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  1. Is it retroactive or a correction to a law which tried to do something it could not? The question is did the act have legal affect? I have heard persons state it was unconstitutional. Hearing Bowen he too thought it was unconstitutional. If its the latter, how is not following it a valid defence? If the police followed what the “unconstitutional” law said, would defendants not have the right to claim the law was wrongly used? Would suppose the government’s appeal of the courts ruling would include an argument that the law as it was written was flawed.

  2. This speaks to the state of the legal profession in Antigua and Barbuda. Bowen is speaking to the deficiencies as a Parliamentarian.
    Until now no lawyer from the AG to Crown Council the and all of the Legal Affairs staff or any member of the bar recognized and or addressed the flaws.
    I will contend that lawyers in Antigua and Barbuda are pariahs preying in the poor and vulnerable.

    • Winston they are also human hence capable of making mistakes. Truth is the UPP advocated for the same law (ie having the DPP agreement to charges). Justin Simon when AG made clear this change was needed and he planned to bring legislation to make it happen. His argument was that the police tend to more lose than win cases they prosecuted

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