Contempt of Court Act

Link to law: http://laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-99.pdf
Published: 0000

Contempt of Court (CAP. 99 1

CHAPTER 99

THE CONTEMPT OF COURT ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Contempt in the presence or hearing of the Court.
4. Contempts other than those committed in presence and

hearing of the Court.
5. When defendant entitled to costs.
6. Judge personally interested shall not sit.
7. Contempt of Summary Court.
8. Appeal from order of magistrate or coroner.
9. Appeal from order of Judge of Summary Court.

10. Reservation of certain powers to Supreme Court.
1 1. Allocation of fines.

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Contempt of Court (CAP. 99 3

.-

CONTEMPT O F COURT

1. This Act may be cited as the Contempt of Court She* title.
Act.

2. In this Act- Interpretation.
"Court" means the Supreme Court.

3. (1) The Court shall have power to ~ u n i s h sum- Contempt presence or in the
rnarily with fine or imprisonment any person who commits hearing the
a contempt in the presence or hearing of the Court, when court.
sitting.

(2) Such punishment shall in no case exceed a fine of
five thousand dollars or six months' imprisonment without
hard labour.

(3) The Court shall in punishing by fine order that the
fine shall be paid within a definite time, not less than four-
teen days and that in default of payment the offender shall
be imprisoned without hard labour for three months:

Provided that in the case of a contempt committed in
the face of the Court other than the Court of Appeal there
shall be an appeal to the Court of Appeal in the manner
and on the conditions prescribed by and subject to the
pfovisions of the Acts relating to such Appeals.

4. (1) All contempts of Court other than those com- 2,",tet;,p;," 0 t h
mitted in the presence and hearing of the Court when sit- committed in
ting shall be dealt with and determined only by means of g;s:;o;;te
a rule of the Court which may be applied for by any person court.
whomsoever calling upon the defendant to show cause why
he should not be attached for contempt of Court.

(2) Such rule of Court shall contain with certainty the
words or acts alleged to constitute the contempt of Court,
and shall be served at least sgven clear days before the return
day thereof, except in the case of a contempt of Court by

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4 CAP. 99) Contempt of Court

spoken or written comment on legal proceedings then pen-
ding, in which case the rule of Court shall be made returnable
without delay.

(3) Such rule of Court shall be directed to the Provost-
Marshal, and shall be served on the defendant personally,
or, if he cannot be found, then a copy of the same shall be
left with some responsible person at the last known place
of residence or business of the defendant.

(4) Such rule of Court shall be heard and determined
on the return day thereof by the Judge of the said Court,
or the person for the time being acting as such, and by a
jury to be summoned and empanelled in the same manner
as a jury to try issues in the said Court is summoned and
empanelled.

(5) On the hearing of such rule of Court the defendant
shall plead, and thereupon evidence shall be taken on both
sides orally and the defendant shall be a competent witness
in his own behalf, and the same rules as to summoning and
compensation of witnesses, their examination, cross-
examination and re-examination, the admissibility or other-
wise of evidence, the addresses of counsel, and the Judge's
charge to the jury, observed in the Supreme Court on the
hearing of actions, shall apply to, and be observed on, the
hearing of such rule of Court.

(6) The defendant to such rule of Court may apply for
and obtain a special jury in the usual manner, and the costs
thereon shall be costs in the cause.

(7) The jury sworn to try the issues, both of law and
fact, of such rule shall give a general verdict of guilty or
not guilty upon the whole matter, both of law and fact, put
in issue upon such rule and shall not be required or directed
by the Court or Judge before whom such rule shall be tried
to return any other verdict or finding whatsoever.

(8) On a verdict of guilty being returned by the jury,
the Court shall, in the case of a contempt of Court by spoken
or written comment on legal proceedings then pending, order
the defendant to pay a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars
or to be imprisoned without hard labour for any term not

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Contempt of Court (CAP. 99 5

exceeding nine months, and in all other cases the Court shall
order the defendant to pay a fine not exceeding five thousand
dollars and in default of payment within a definite time, not
less than fourteen days, to be imprisoned without hard labour
for any term not exceeding three months.

(9) The defendant, if dissatisfied with the verdict, may
move the Court or Judge in Chambers within three days
after the giving of such verdict for a new trial, and any new
trial granted shall be heard and proceeded with in the same
manner as the original trial.

(10) The defendant, if convicted, or if a new trial shall
be refused him, may within three days after such convic-
tion, or after a new trial shall have been refused, enter into
a bond with a sufficient surety to be approved by the Registrar
in the sum of five thousand dollars before the Registrar of
the Court for the due prosecution of an appeal by him to
the Court of Appeal, and on his entering into such bond
the sentence of the Court shall be stayed, until such appeal
is disposed of, and such person shall not be detained in
custody, and the Judges of the Court of Appeal may, if in
their opinion the evidence did not warrant the finding, or
that a new trial, where the same has been applied for, ought
to have been granted, reverse such finding and acquit the
defendant, or may grant a new trial, where the same has
been applied for and refused.

5 . Whenever the defendant shall be acquitted he shall When defendant
entitled to costs.

be entitled to his costs from the person obtaining the rule
of Court, and on his being convicted he shall pay costs, and
such costs shall be taxed by the Registrar in the usual man-
ner, who on taxing the same shall enter up judgment in his
office with the other judgments entered in his office for the
amount of such costs, and execution shall be issued thereon
by the Registrar in the usual manner.

6. Any Judge referred to or affected by the contempt .!,"P,~,~~~,",":,ly
alleged so as to be personally interested in the matter shall ,,t ,it.
not sit on the hearing of the said rule nor on the hearing
of any appeal allowed under this Act, but such Judge shall
notify the Governor-General who shall appoint some
competent person other than the Judge aforesaid to act as
Judge on the hearing of such appeal.

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CAP. 99) Contempt of Court

Contempt of
Summary Court. 7. If any person shall wilfully insult a Judge of the

Court of Summary Jurisdiction during his sitting in Court
the Judge of such Court shall order such person to pay a
fine not exceeding one thousand dollars and in default of
payment within fourteen days after the making of such order,
may by warrant under his hand commit the person to prison
for one month without hard labour.

Appeal from
order of

8. Any person who shall be ordered by any magistrate
magistrate or or by any coroner to pay a fine or be imprisoned for con-
coroner. tempt of Court may at the time of such order give notice

to the committing magistrate, or coroner, of his intention
to appeal to the Court of Summary Jurisdiction of Antigua
and Barbuda, and the giving of such notice shall operate
as a stay of such order, and such person shall not be detain-
ed in custody, and the committing magistrate or coroner shall
within six days after the giving of such notice send in to
the Court of Summary Jurisdiction a statement signed by
him of the causes of such committal, and, upon such state-
ment being received, the clerk of the Court shall within two
days thereafter issue a summons to be served by a police
officer on the appellant, calling on him to appear before the
Judge of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction on a day to
be named therein: and the Court of Summary Jurisdiction
shall hear and determine such appeal with all possible
despatch, and may from time to time return the proceedings
to the committing magistrate or coroner for further infor-
mation, and on the appeal being confirmed the committing
magistrate or coroner shall proceed to carry out and enforce
his order, in the same manner as if there had been no ap-
peal against the same.

Appeal from
order of Judge of

9. Any person who shall be ordered by any Judge
Summary Court. of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction, in its appellate or

original jurisdiction to pay a fine or be imprisoned for con-
tempt of Court, may at the time of such order give notice
to the committing Judge of his intention to appeal to the
Court of Appeal and may within two days thereafter enter
into a recognizance with a surety to the satisfaction of the
Registrar in a sum not exceeding fifteen hundred dollars to
prosecute such appeal, and the giving of such notice and
entering into such recognizance shall operate as a stay of
such order, and on such person entering into the necessary

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Contempt of Court (CAP. 99

recognizance the Judge of the Court of Summary Jurisdic-
tion shall within six days thereafter send in to the Registrar
of the Supreme Court a statement of the cause of such com-
mittal under the hand of the committing Judge, and upon
such statement being received the Registrar of the Supreme
Court shall within two days thereafter issue a summons, free
of cost, calling on the appellant to appear before the Court
of Appeal on a day to be named therein, and the Court of
Appeal shall hear and determine such appeal and either con-
firm the order of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction, im-
posing the costs of the Court of Appeal on the applicant,
or vary or quash such order, and the Court of Appeal may
from time to time return the proceedings to the committing
Judge for further information; and on the appeal being con-
firmed the committing Judge shall proceed to carry out and
enforce his or their order, in the same manner as if there
had been no appeal against the same and also enforce pay-
ment of the costs of the Court of Appeal in the same man-
ner as the payment of costs of the Court of Summary Jurisdic-
tion are enforced.

10. Nothing hereinbefore contained shall be deemed ~~~$~~ to
to interfere with or affect the power now possessed by the supreme Court.
Court to punish, by attachment or otherwise any person who
shall disobey a process of such Court directed to him, or
who shall disobey any order or direction of such Court.

11. All fines and penalties to be paid under this Act :;;.ation of
shall be paid into the public Treasury.
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