Belize, Crime

New Bail Rules Make It Hard For the Poor in Belize

It will be a lot harder for poor people to meet bail with new bail provisions that have been posted at the court. Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, has posted three new provisions at the Magistrate Court for persons who wish to be sureties for defendants who are offered bail.

  • The first is that the surety must provide a viable telephone number -work or home.
  • The second is that the surety must provide a letter from his or her employer as proof that the surety is working.
  • The third is that the surety must provide the court with a letter from a bank or credit Union to show that he or she has an account that covers the amount of the bail.

The first and second provisions are manageable for most folks.

But court observers tell us that the third provision is being met with some skepticism and disapproval because of the fact that there is confidentiality between a bank or credit union and its clients regarding the amount of money in that client’s account. In addition, some sureties might not be able to provide the third provision and more defendants will thus be unable to meet bail.

Original post

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