Criminal Law

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Criminal Law
CRIMINAL LAW ACT

CHAPTER 10:04

LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Acts
20 of 1936
45 of 1979

Amended by
36 of 1985
16 of 1997
*90 of 2000

*See Note on page 2

L.R.O.

Current Authorised Pages
Pages Authorised

(inclusive) by L.R.O.
1–10 ..

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Note on Subsidiary Legislation
This Chapter contains no subsidiary legislation.

Note on Act No. 90 of 2000

Section 5 of the Offences Against the Person (Amendment) Act 1990 (Act No. 90 of 2000)
amended section 2A of the Act by substituting for the word “murder” the words “murder 1” but
Act No. 90 of 2000 had not, up to the date of the revision of the Act, been brought into operation.

Note on Transfer of Provisions
The Criminal Offences Ordinance (Ch. 4 No. 4) (1950 Ed.) has been divided in two Acts—this
Act and the Criminal Offences Act (Ch. 11:01). Sections 2A to 2E (inserted in the Ordinance
by Act No. 49 of 1979) have been combined with section 11 (inserted in the Ordinance by
Ordinance 20 of 1936) to form the Act of this Chapter under the title the Criminal Law Act.
The other provisions of the Ordinance now constitute Chapter 11:01.

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Criminal Law Chap. 10:04 3

CHAPTER 10:04

CRIMINAL LAW ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
SECTION

1. Short title.

2. Abolition of distinction between felony and misdemeanour.

2A. Saving for constructive malice.

3. Arrest without warrant.

4. Use of force in making arrest, etc.

5. Penalties for assisting offenders.

6. Penalties for concealing offences or giving false information.

7. Abolition of presumption of coercion of wife by husband.

SCHEDULE.

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4 Chap. 10:04 Criminal Law

CHAPTER 10:04

CRIMINAL LAW ACT

An Act to make provision for the punishment of certain
offences.

[ SECTIONS 2-6: 31ST DECEMBER 1979
SECTION 7: 24TH DECEMBER 1936]

1. This Act may be cited as the Criminal Law Act.

2. (1) All distinctions between felony and misdemeanour are
hereby abolished.

(2) Subject to this Act, on all matters on which a
distinction has previously been made between felony and
misdemeanour including mode of trial, the law and practice in
relation to all offences cognisable under the law of Trinidad and
Tobago (including piracy) shall be the law and practice applicable
on 31st December 1979 in relation to misdemeanour.

(3) The provisions set out in the Schedule (being
transitional and other provisions related to the abolition of the
distinction between felonies and misdemeanours) shall have effect
as from 31st December 1979.

2A. (1) Where a person embarks upon the commission of an
arrestable offence involving violence and someone is killed in the
course or furtherance of that offence (or any other arrestable offence
involving violence), he and all other persons engaged in the course
or furtherance of the commission of that arrestable offence (or any
other arrestable offence involving violence) are liable to be
convicted of murder even if the killing was done without intent to
kill or to cause grievous bodily harm.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), a killing done in
the course or for the purpose of—

(a) resisting a member of the security forces acting
in the execution of his duties or of a person
assisting a member so acting;

20 of 1936.
45 of 1979.

Commencement.

Short title.

Abolition of
distinction
between felony
and
misdemeanour.
[45 of 1979].

Schedule.

Saving for
constructive
malice.
[16 of 1997
*90 of 2000].

*See Note on page 2.

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Criminal Law Chap. 10:04 5

(b) resisting or avoiding or preventing a lawful
arrest; or

(c) effecting or assisting an escape or rescue from
legal custody,

shall be treated as a killing in the course or furtherance of an
arrestable offence involving violence.

(3) In subsection (2), “member of the security forces”
means a member of—

(a) the Police Service;
(b) the Prison Service;
(c) the Fire Service;
(d) the Defence Force;
(e) the Supplemental Police established under the

Supplemental Police Act.

3. (1) The powers of summary arrest conferred by the
following subsections shall apply to capital offences or offences
for which a person (not previously convicted) may, under or by
virtue of any written law be sentenced to imprisonment for a term
of five years, and to attempts to commit any such offence; and in
this Act, including any amendment made by the Law Revision
(Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 1) Act 1979 in any other written
law, “arrestable offence” means any such offence or attempt.

(2) Any person may arrest without warrant anyone who
is, or whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects to be, in the act of
committing an arrestable offence.

(3) Where an arrestable offence has been committed, any
person may arrest without warrant anyone who is, or whom he,
with reasonable cause, suspects to be, guilty of the offence.

(4) Where a police officer, with reasonable cause, suspects
that an arrestable offence has been committed, he may arrest
without warrant anyone whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects
to be guilty of the offence.

(5) A police officer may arrest without warrant any person
who is, or whom he, with reasonable cause, suspects to be, about
to commit an arrestable offence.

Arrest without
warrant.
[45 of 1979].

45 of 1979.

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(6) For the purposes of arresting a person under any power
conferred by this section a police officer may enter (if need be, by
force) and search any place where that person is or where the police
officer, with reasonable cause, suspects him to be.

(7) This section shall not affect the operation of any
written law restricting the institution of proceedings for an offence,
nor prejudice any power of arrest conferred by law apart from
this section.

4. (1) A person may use such force as is reasonable in the
circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting
in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons
unlawfully at large.

(2) Subsection (1) shall replace the rules of the common
law on the question when force used for a purpose mentioned in
the subsection is justified by that purpose.

5. (1) Where a person has committed an arrestable offence,
any other person who, knowing or believing him to be guilty of
the offence or of some other arrestable offence, does without lawful
authority or reasonable excuse any act with intent to impede his
apprehension or prosecution is guilty of an offence.

(2) If on the trial of an indictment of an arrestable offence
the jury are satisfied that the offence charged (or some other
offence of which the accused might on that charge be found guilty)
was committed, but find the accused not guilty of it, they may
find him guilty of any offence under subsection (1) of which
they are satisfied that he is guilty in relation to the offence charged
(or that other offence).

(3) A person committing an offence under subsection (1)
with intent to impede another person’s apprehension or prosecution
shall on conviction on indictment be liable to imprisonment
according to the gravity of the other person’s offence, as follows:

(a) if that offence is a capital offence, he is liable to
imprisonment for ten years;

Use of force in
making arrest,
etc.
[45 of 1979].

Penalties for
assisting
offenders.
[45 of 1979
36 of 1985].

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(b) if it is one for which a person (not previously
convicted) may be sentenced to imprisonment for
a term of fourteen years, he is liable to
imprisonment for seven years;

(c) if it is not one included in paragraphs (a) and (b)
but is one for which a person (not previously
convicted) may be sentenced to imprisonment for
a term of ten years, he is liable to imprisonment
for five years;

(d) in any other case, he is liable to imprisonment
for not more than three years.

(4) No proceedings shall be instituted for an offence under
subsection (1) except by or with the consent of the Director of
Public Prosecutions but this subsection shall not prevent the arrest,
or the issue of a warrant for the arrest, of a person for such an
offence, or the remand in custody, or on bail of a person charged
with such an offence

(5) Offences under subsection (l), and incitement to
commit them, shall be included in the Second Schedule to the
Summary Courts Act where that Schedule includes or is under any
written law to be treated as including the arrestable offence to which
they relate.

(6) For purposes of the Extradition (Commonwealth and
Foreign Territories) Act, offences in relation to an extraditable
offence which in Trinidad and Tobago would be offences under
subsection (1) shall be extraditable offences and be deemed to be
included in the First Schedule to that Act.

6. (1) Where a person has committed an arrestable offence,
any other person who, knowing or believing that the offence or
some other arrestable offence has been committed, and that he has
information which might be of material assistance in securing the
prosecution or conviction of an offender for it, accepts or agrees
to accept for not disclosing that information any consideration other
than the making good of loss or injury caused by the offence, or
the making of reasonable compensation for that loss or injury, is
liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for two years.

Ch. 4:20.

Ch. 12:04.

Penalties for
concealing
offences or
giving false
information.
[45 of 1979].

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(2) Where a person causes any wasteful employment of
the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending
to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to
apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending
to show that he has information material to any police inquiry, he
is liable on summary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars
and to imprisonment for six months.

(3) Offences under subsection (1) and incitement to
commit them shall be included in the Second Schedule to the
Summary Courts Act where that Schedule includes or is under any
written law to be treated as including the arrestable offence to which
they relate.

(4) The compounding of an offence other than treason
shall not be an offence otherwise than under this section.

7. Any presumption of law that an offence committed by a
wife in the presence of her husband is committed under the coercion
of her husband is abolished, but on a charge against a wife for any
offence other than treason or murder it shall be a good defence to
prove that the offence was committed in the presence of, and under
the coercion of, the husband.

Ch. 4:20.

Abolition of
presumption of
coercion of wife
by husband.

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SCHEDULE

TRANSITIONAL AND OTHER RELATED PROVISIONS
AS TO ABOLITION OF DISTINCTION BETWEEN

FELONY AND MISDEMEANOUR

1. In this Schedule—
“the commencement date” means the date on which the relevant amendments

come into operation;
“the relevant amendments” means the amendments made to the Criminal

Procedure Ordinance and the Criminal Offences Ordinance by the
provisions of the First Schedule to the Law Revision (Miscellaneous
Amendments) (No. 1) Act 1979.

2. In so far as the relevant amendments affect any matter of procedure or
evidence or the jurisdiction or powers of any Court in relation to offences, they
shall have effect in relation to proceedings on indictment for an offence (except
as provided by the following paragraphs) if, but only if, the person charged
with the offence is arraigned on or after the commencement date.

3. Where a person is arraigned after the commencement date on an
indictment for a felony committed before that date, then for purposes of his
trial on that indictment the offence shall be deemed always to have been a
misdemeanour and, notwithstanding that the indictment is framed as an
indictment for felony, shall be deemed to be charged as a misdemeanour in
the indictment.

4. On an indictment signed before the commencement date, a person may
be found guilty of any offence of which he could have been found guilty on that
indictment if the relevant amendments had not been enacted, but not of any
other offence; and a person tried by a Court martial ordered or convened before
the commencement date may be found guilty of any offence of which he could
have been guilty if the relevant amendments had not been enacted, but not of
any other offence.

5. Where a person has been tried for or convicted of felony before the
commencement date, the trial or conviction may be proved in any manner in
which it could have been proved if the relevant amendments had not been enacted.

6. Subject to any express amendment or repeal made by this Act the
following provisions shall have effect in relation to any Act passed before the
commencement date:

(a) any written law creating an offence by directing it to be felony
shall be read as directing it to be an offence, and nothing in

Section 2(3).
[45 of 1979].

Interpretation.

Ch. 4 No. 3.
(1950 Ed.).
Ch. 4 No. 4.
(1950 Ed.).
[45 of 1979].

New provisions
apply to
arraignments on
or after
commencement
date.

Where felony
committed
before
commencement
date.

Where
indictment
signed or Court
martial ordered
before
commencement
date.

Proof of trial on
conviction
before
commencement
date.

Construction of
old enactments.

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the relevant amendments shall affect the operation of any
reference to an offence in the written laws specially relating
to that offence by reason only of the reference being in terms
no longer applicable after the commencement date;

(b) any written law referring to felonious stealing shall be read as
referring merely to stealing;

(c) nothing in the relevant amendments shall affect the punishment
provided for an offence by the written laws specially relating
to that offence.

7. In the provisions of the First Schedule to the Law Revision
(Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 1) Act 1979 references to felony shall not
be taken as including treason; but the procedure on trials for treason or
misprison of treason shall be the same as the procedure as altered by the relevant
amendments on trials for murder.

8. Any provisions in the First Schedule to the Law Revision
(Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 1) Act 1979 relating to proceedings on
indictment shall, so far as applicable apply also to proceedings on
an inquisition.

Treason.
45 of 1979.

Inquisition.
45 of 1979.

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