20 March 2018
Jersey could have a world-leading criminal justice system if States Members agree to amend laws that are almost 200 years old.
Today the States Assembly will again debate the draft Criminal Procedure (Jersey) Law, following a delay to allow the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel to produce a report on the Law.
In January this year an abuse survivor, who was cross examined by his attacker in court, made an impassioned plea to all States Members to support the draft Criminal Procedure (Jersey) Law and ‘put victims first’.
The Law will repeal and replace legislation dating from the 1830s to the 1940s, to build on the strengths of justice and fairness in our system by providing a flexible and efficient underlying framework for the Royal Court, Magistrates Court and Youth Court.
The new law will ensure that cases in criminal proceedings are dealt with justly, more efficiently and flexibly, as well as reflecting on the significant lessons learned in past decades, especially with regard to the treatment of young and vulnerable people. And it will mean that victims, witnesses and the accused are able to move on with their lives as soon as possible.
As part of the wider criminal justice modernisation process, the Home Affairs Minister has recently brought forward legislation concerning bail and the treatment of young offenders, and further work on updating the law on sexual offences will follow. When fully completed, Jersey will have an updated and world-leading criminal justice system that will reflect the significant lessons learned in the past decades, especially in the treatment of young and vulnerable people.
Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore, said: “This Law is part of a wider project to modernise and improve the criminal justice process in Jersey to improve outcomes for victims, protect and support witnesses, and ensure justice and fairness for people accused of a crime. Jersey is internationally recognised for its effective and unique justice system, but the Island has not kept fully up to date with developments in criminal justice in the past decades and this can affect the ability of our judges to manage the detail of court process, and is reflected in our approach to technology.”
“I would like to express my genuine appreciation for the assistance and support of legal practitioners in Jersey, both within and outside government. The legal profession has been fully engaged in this process and has revealed itself to be a dynamic and forward-looking driver of change.”