Preliminary Inquiries (Special Procedure) Act


Published: 1988-04-14

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Preliminary Inquiries (Special Procedure) Act
PRELIMINARY INQUIRIES (SPECIAL PROCEDURE) [CH.92 – 1



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

PRELIMINARY INQUIRIES (SPECIAL PROCEDURE)
CHAPTER 92

PRELIMINARY INQUIRIES (SPECIAL PROCEDURE)

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Use of statements as evidence in committal proceedings in which Act applies.
4. Conditions for use of statements as evidence.
5. Admission of reports and plans as written statements.
6. Use of oral evidence in conjunction with written statements.
7. Statements constitute depositions.
8. Exceptions to use of written statements and cross-examination of the makers.
9. Identification of exhibits referred to in written statement.
10. Provision as to taking statements of accused persons.
11. Evidence and address in defence.
12. Provisions of the Code to supplement special procedure.
13. Restrictions on reports of committal proceedings.
14. Matters for preliminary inquiry report.


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CHAPTER 92

PRELIMINARY INQUIRIES
(SPECIAL PROCEDURE) ACT

An Act to establish a special procedure whereby
preliminary inquiries before magistrates may be expedited.

[Assent 19th August, 1983]
[Commencement 14th April, 1988]

1. This Act may be cited as the Preliminary Inquiries
(Special Procedure) Act.

2. (1) In this Act unless the context otherwise
requires —

“the Code” means the Criminal Procedure Code Act;
“written statement” means any document in writing

whether an original, a copy or a typewritten
reproduction, containing an account of a crime
or relating to any aspect of a crime.

(2) Expressions used in any provision of this Act
and which are also used in Part V of the Code have the
same meanings in this Act as they have in the Code.

3. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in
any other law where a magistrate in conducting a
preliminary inquiry pursuant to section 114 of the Code is
satisfied, after compliance with section 115 thereof, that
the evidence to be produced by the prosecution consists of
written statements that satisfy the conditions mentioned in
section 4, with or without exhibits, he may take these
statements as evidence for the prosecution and, subject to
the provisions of this Act, make his determination having
regard to those statements whether or not to commit the
accused person for trial before the Supreme Court.

(2) Subsection (1) applies to any preliminary inquiry
in which the taking of evidence by the magistrate begins
after the coming into operation of this Act and whether or
not the charge against the accused person was instituted
prior thereto but it shall not apply to any preliminary
inquiry held in respect of any charge for —

5 of 1983
19 of 1993

Short title.

Interpretation.

Ch. 91.

19 of 1993, s. 2.

Use of statements
as evidence in
committal
proceedings in
which Act
applies.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(a) treason, murder or manslaughter; and
(b) any offence which the magistrate in his discretion

determines that in the interest of justice the inquiry
should be wholly conducted in accordance with
the provisions of the Code having regard to the
nature of the offence or the circumstances
attending its alleged commission.

4. (1) In a preliminary inquiry a written statement
by any person shall, if the conditions mentioned in
subsection (2) are satisfied, be taken as evidence pursuant
to section 3(1) to the like extent as oral evidence to the like
effect by that person.

(2) The said conditions are —
(a) the statement purports to be signed by the person

whose evidence it purports to be;
(b) the statement contains a declaration by that

person to the effect that it is true to the best of
his knowledge and belief and that he made the
statement knowing that, if it were tendered in
evidence, he would be liable to prosecution if he
wilfully stated in it anything which he knew to
be false or did not believe to be true;

(c) before the statement is tendered in evidence, a
copy of the statement is given by or on behalf of
the party proposing to tender it, to each accused
together with a notice in writing that the accused
person may object to the admission in evidence
to any such statement or part thereof and
thereafter as soon as practicable like copies of
the statement and of any document referred to
therein as an exhibit shall be given to the
magistrate at least seven days prior to the day of
hearing on which the statement is required to be
taken as evidence.

(3) The following provisions shall also have effect
in relation to any written statement tendered in evidence
under this section, that is to say —

(a) if the statement is made by a person under the
age of eighteen, it shall give his age;

Conditions for
use of statements
as evidence.

19 of 1993, s. 3.

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(b) if it is made by a person who cannot read it, it
shall be read to him before he signs it and shall
be accompanied by a declaration by the person
who so read the statement to the effect that it
was so read; and

(c) if it refers to any other document as an exhibit,
the copy given to any other party to the
proceedings under paragraph (c) of subsection
(2) shall be accompanied by a copy of that
document or by such information as may be
necessary in order to enable the party to whom it
is given to inspect that document or copy
thereof.

5. (1) For the purpose of any preliminary inquiry
conducted pursuant to section 3(1) any document purport-
ing to be a public survey within the meaning of the Public
Survey Protection Act1 or a report under the hand of a
registered medical practitioner or of any person employed
in the public service as an analyst or as a laboratory
technician being a person designated for the purposes of
this subsection by the Minister responsible for Medical and
Health Services upon any examination or analysis carried
out by him shall, if it bears his signature, be deemed a
written statement satisfying the conditions of section 4(2)
and be taken in evidence.

(2) The court may for the purpose of such
preliminary inquiry assume that the signature on any such
document or report is genuine, without further evidence on
the point, and that the person signing it held the qualification
and office which he professed to hold at the time when he
signed it.

6. (1) Notwithstanding that a written statement made
by any person may be taken as evidence in a preliminary
inquiry by virtue of section 3(1), the magistrate may —

(a) on his own motion require that person; or
(b) on the application of any party to the inquiry,

require any other person who has not given a
written statement,

to attend before the court and give oral evidence on oath.


1 This Act, 1965 Ed. Ch. 204, was repealed by the Land Surveyors Act, 1875, s. 36.

(9 of 1975). See also Land Surveyors Act (Ch. 251).

Admission of
reports and plans
as written
statements.

Use of oral
evidence in
conjunction with
written
statements.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(2) So much of any statement as is taken in evidence
by virtue of section 3(1) shall be read aloud at the hearing by
the magistrate or by any other person on his directions.

(3) If an accused person does not understand
English the written statements shall be interpreted to him in
the language which he understands by an interpreter who
shall be sworn in accordance with the provisions of the
Oaths Act and the identity of the interpreter shall be
recorded thereon by the magistrate.

7. (1) Where in a preliminary inquiry written
statements are taken in conjunction with oral testimony as
evidence, such testimony when recorded by the magistrate
shall be deemed to be a written statement taken pursuant to
section 3(1) of the person testifying.

(2) Every written statement taken as evidence
pursuant to section 3(1) shall be deemed a deposition
taken in accordance with the provisions of the Evidence
Act relating to the taking of oral evidence and shall
notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other law
be treated as evidence taken under Part V of the Code.

(3) If it appears to a magistrate that any part of a
written statement is inadmissible as evidence there shall be
written against that part “Treated as inadmissible” followed
by the initials of the magistrate.

8. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in
any other law no witness whose written statement has been
taken as evidence pursuant to section 3(1), other than a
person who has been required to attend before the court
under section 6(1) or a person to whom subsection (2)
applies, shall be cross-examined by any party to the
proceedings during the inquiry.

(2) Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Act
shall enable the written statement of any witness —

(a) not normally resident in The Bahamas; or
(b) to whom section 129 of the Code applies,

to be taken as evidence pursuant to section 3(1) without
that witness being in attendance before the magistrate and
available for cross-examination unless the party entitled to
conduct such examination informs the magistrate that the


Statements
constitute
depositions.

Ch. 65.

Exceptions to use
of written
statements and
cross-
examination of
the makers.

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statement may be taken without such compliance and
which shall duly be recorded by the magistrate on that
statement.

9. (1) Any document or object referred to as an
exhibit and identified in a written statement taken as
evidence pursuant to section 3(1) shall be treated as if it
has been produced as an exhibit and identified in court by
the maker of the statement and that document or object
shall, wheresoever possible, be identified by means of a
label or other make of identification signed by the maker of
the statement.

(2) Before a magistrate treats any document or
object referred to as an exhibit in a written statement as an
exhibit produced and identified in court, he shall be
satisfied that the document or object is sufficiently
described in the written statement for it to be identified.

10. (1) If after the depositions of the witnesses for
the prosecution have been taken as provided under the
foregoing provisions of this Act the magistrate considers
that on the evidence as it stands there are sufficient
grounds for committing the accused person for trial, the
magistrate shall satisfy himself’ that the accused person
understands the charge and shall ask the accused person
whether he wishes to make a statement in his defence or
not and, if he wishes to make a statement whether he
wishes to make it on oath or not or to produce to the court
a written statement. The magistrate shall also explain to the
accused person that he is not bound to make a statement
and that his statement, if he makes or produces one will be
part of the evidence at the trial.

(2) Whatever the accused person then says in
answer thereto shall be taken down in writing, as nearly as
possible in the accused person’s own words, or should the
accused person produce to the magistrate a written
statement the same may be taken as record of the evidence
of the accused person and anything so taken down or
produced shall be read over to the accused person who
shall be at liberty to explain or add anything contained in
the record thereof. The accused person shall sign, or attest
by his mark such record. If he refuses, the court shall add a
note of his refusal and the record may be subject to
Subsection (3) be used as if he had signed or attested it.

Identification of
exhibits referred
to in written
statement.

Provision as to
taking statements
of accused
persons.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(3) The magistrate shall thereafter certify that such
statement was taken down or produced to him in his
presence and contains accurately the whole statement
made or produced to him as the case may be by the
accused person and to which section 166 of the Code shall
apply.

(4) After subsection (3) has been complied with, the
magistrate shall explain to the accused person that if the
court commits him for trial he may not be permitted at that
trial to adduce evidence of an alibi unless he gives notice
of particulars of the alibi and of the witnesses to the court
immediately or to the Attorney-General within 21 days
from the end of the committal proceedings; and where the
court commits the accused person for trial the magistrate
shall record in writing the fact that the explanation has
been given.

11. (1) Immediately after complying with the
requirements of section 10 and whether the accused person
has or has not made or given a statement or evidence, the
magistrate shall ask him whether he desires to call
witnesses on his own behalf and thereafter the inquiry
shall, subject to subsection (2), be conducted in accordance
with the provisions of subsections (2) to (6) of section 121
and of section 122 of the Code, which shall for that
purpose apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) or in section 3(1),
shall preclude the taking of any written statement of a
witness for the accused person as evidence under section
3(1) where such statement satisfies the provisions of
section 4, other than subsection (2)(c) thereof, and sections
6, 7, 8 and 9 shall, as they apply to the witnesses for the
prosecution and their evidence, apply mutatis mutandis to
the witnesses and their evidence for the accused person.

12. (1) The provisions of the Code shall, save to the
extent of their incompatibility with, or exclusion by, the
foregoing provisions of this Act apply mutatis mutandis to
a preliminary inquiry held by a magistrate in accordance
with those foregoing provisions as if such inquiry were an
inquiry being held under Part V of the Code and any
references in any other law or its application thereof to an
inquiry held or thing taken or done under that Part shall be


Evidence and
address in
defence.

Provisions of the
Code to
supplement
special
procedure.

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construed as references to or be applicable, as the case may
be, to the same extent and in like manner to an inquiry
held, or thing taken or done under this Act.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) shall enable any
written statement taken as evidence under section 3(1) to
be used as evidence in proceedings to which section 123 or
136 of the Code applies without the maker of that
statement being called to give oral evidence.

13. (1) Except as provided by subsections (2), (3)
and (7) it shall not be lawful to publish in The Bahamas a
report, of any committal proceedings in The Bahamas
containing any matter other than that permitted by section
14.

(2) A magistrates’ court shall, on application for the
purpose made with reference to any committal proceedings
by the accused or one of the accused as the case may be,
order that the foregoing subsection shall not apply to
reports of those proceedings.

(3) It shall not be lawful under this section to publish
or broadcast a report of committal proceedings containing
any matter other than that permitted by section 14 —

(a) where the magistrates’ court determines not to
commit the accused for trial, after it so
determines;

(b) where the court commits the accused or any of
the accused for trial, after the conclusion of his
trail or, as the case may be, the trail of the last to
be tried,

and where at any time during the preliminary inquiry the
court proceeds to try summarily the case of one or more of
the accused under section 123, 136 or 210 of the Code
(summary trial of indictable offences), while committing
the other accused or one or more of the other accused for
trial, it shall not be unlawful under this section to publish
or broadcast as part of a report of the summary trial, after
the court determines to proceed as aforesaid, a report of so
much of the committal proceedings containing any such
matter as takes place before the determination.

(4) If a report is published or broadcast in contra-
vention of this section, the following persons, that is to
say —

Restrictions on
reports of
committal
proceedings.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(a) in the case of a publication of a written report as
part of a newspaper or periodical, any
proprietor, editor or publisher of the newspaper
or periodical;

(b) in the case of a publication of a written report
otherwise than as part of a newspaper or
periodical, the person who publishes it;

(c) in the case of a broadcast of a report, any body
corporate which transmits or provides the
programme in which the report is broadcast and
any person having functions in relation to the
programme corresponding to those of the editor
of a newspaper or periodical,

shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of five
thousand dollars.

(5) Proceedings for an offence under this section
shall not be instituted otherwise than by or with the consent
of the Attorney-General.

(6) Subsection (1) shall be in addition to, and not in
derogation from, the provisions of any other law with
respect to the publication of reports and proceedings of
magistrates’ and other courts.

(7) For the purposes of this section committal
proceedings shall, in relation to a complaint charging an
indictable offence, be deemed to include any proceedings
in the magistrates’ court before that court proceeds to
inquire into the complaint as examining justices; but where
a magistrates’ court which has begun to try a complaint
summarily discontinues the summary trial in pursuance of
section 210 or 211 of the Code and proceeds to inquire into
the complaint as in a preliminary inquiry that circumstance
shall not make it unlawful under this section for a report of
any proceedings on the complaint which was published or
broadcast before the court determined to proceed as
aforesaid to have been so published or broadcast.

14. The following matters may be contained in a
report of committal proceedings published or broadcast
without an order under section 13(2) before the time
authorised by section 13(3), that is to say —

(a) the identity of the court and the name of the
examining justice;

Matters for
preliminary
inquiry report.

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(b) the names, addresses and occupations of the
parties and witnesses and their ages;

(c) the offence or offences, or a summary of them,
with which the accused is or are charged;

(d) the names of the attorneys engaged in the
proceedings;

(e) any decision of the court to commit the accused
for trial, and any decision of the court on the
disposal of the case of any accused not com-
mitted;

(f) where the court commits the accused or any of
them for trial, the charge or charges or a
summary of them, on which he or they are
committed and the court to which he or they are
committed;

(g) where the committal proceedings are adjourned,
the date and place to which they are adjourned;

(h) any arrangements as to bail on committal or
adjournments.