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CRIMINAL

PROCEDURE

RULES,

2016
CRIMINAL

PROCEDURE

RULES,

2016
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE RULES, 2016

Contents Page Nos.

Part 1 Rules of General Application 2-5


Part 2 Time Limits 6 - 14
Part 3 Adjournments 14 - 16
Part 4 Case Management 16 - 21
Part 5 Disclosure 21 - 24
Part 6 Bail 25 - 27
Part 7 Commencement of Proceedings 27 - 31
Part 8 Procedural Stages and Timetable:
Magistrates Courts 32 - 37
Part 9 Procedural Stages and Timetable:
Supreme Court 37 42
Part 10 General Procedural Matters 42 45

Appendix 1 Summary of Time Limits for Criminal Proceedings


(tabular form)
Summary Matters 47
Hybrid Matters tried Summarily 48
Indictable Matters 49 50

Appendix 2 Case Management Forms


Supreme Court Case Management Form 52 56
Magistrates Courts Case Management Form 57 - 59
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 1

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE RULES, 2016

These Rules may be cited as the Criminal Procedure Rules, 2016,


and are jointly published

(a) pursuant to section 197 of the Indictable Procedure Act (Chapter


96 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011) and
section 95(1) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Chapter
91 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011) as
being made by the Chief Justice, insofar as they govern the
procedure to be adopted in relation to all indictable matters being
heard before Magistrates Courts and the Supreme Court in
Belize, commencing in a Magistrates Court on or after 11th
January 2016, and

(b) pursuant to section 66(1) of the Inferior Courts Act (Chapter 94


of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011), as
being made by the Inferior Courts Rules Committee, insofar as
they govern the procedure to be adopted in relation to all
summary matters being heard before Magistrates Courts,
commencing on or after 11th January 2016.

The commencement of these Rules is subject to Rule 4.10, which provides that
the provisions relating to wasted costs shall not come into effect until 15th
September, 2016.

For all matters that were commenced in a Magistrates Court before 11th
January 2016, these Rules have persuasive effect.

Separate Rules will be introduced in respect of children who appear charged


with criminal offences before the Family Court or a Magistrates Court sitting
in the exercise of its family law jurisdiction. Before those Rules are commenced,
these Criminal Procedure Rules have persuasive effect.

These Rules are made with the approval of the Attorney-General as the
responsible Minister, as provided under
2 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(a) section 95 (5) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act ; and

(b) section 66(3) of the Inferior Courts Act.

PART 1

RULES OF GENERAL APPLICATION

Jurisdiction

1.1 (i) Each Magistrates Court has jurisdiction:

(a) to hear and determine all complaints or informations for


summary conviction offences, including complaints or
informations for the recovery of fines, penalties or
forfeitures not specifically assigned by statute to the
Supreme Court;

(b) to receive and inquire into all charges of indictable


offences and to make any orders in respect thereof
under the Indictable Procedure Act; and

(c) generally, to do all acts and things, required by any


statute, law or usage now or hereafter in force, appertaining
to a summary jurisdiction court in England.

(ii) The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to determine all criminal


matters committed to it and petitions for bail.

Overriding Objective

1.2 It is the duty of the Court and all parties and participants, where the
context so requires, to further the overriding objective.

1.3 The overriding objective of these Rules is that criminal cases be dealt
with justly and expeditiously.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 3

1.4 Dealing with a case in furtherance of the overriding objective includes


(i) dealing with the Prosecution and the defence fairly;

(ii) ensuring the protection of all the rights of a Defendant;

(iii) considering the interests of the Defendant, witnesses, victims


and jurors;

(iv) dealing with the case efficiently and expeditiously;

(v) ensuring that appropriate information is available to the Court


particularly when bail or sentence is under consideration; and

(vi) dealing with cases in ways that take into account

(a) the gravity of the offence;

(b) the complexity of the matter;

(c) the consequences for a Defendant and others who


may be affected; and

(d) the needs of other cases.

When the Court shall hear criminal matters

1.5 The Court shall sit between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Monday to Friday with the exception of statutory holidays, unless
otherwise provided by Judges Rules or unless the Chief Justice or
a Judge or Magistrate presiding in any criminal proceeding directs
that any matter be heard at any other hour or on any other day.

Court deemed always open

1.6 (i) The Court is deemed always to be open for:


4 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(a) the filing of any document; and

(b) the transaction of judicial business.

(ii) Notwithstanding paragraph (i) above, all and any documents


filed with the Court, electronically or otherwise, after 3:00 p.m.
on any day shall be dated and deemed to be filed on the next
working day.

Opening hours of the office of the Court

1.7 The Court office shall be open to the public for the receipt of cash and
other payments between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.,
except statutory holidays.

Court records to be in electronic form

1.8 All and any records of the Court shall, if at all practicable, be created,
entered and maintained electronically.

Verbatim records to be made

1.9 A contemporaneous verbatim record shall, wherever practicable, be


made of each and every hearing. This record shall be made via the
use of audio recording equipment, unless the presiding Judge or
Magistrate directs that the record of any hearing shall be recorded via
the use of stenographic recording equipment or any other method.

Courtroom events to be recorded

1.10 Courtroom events must be recorded onto computers, or another


means authorized by the presiding Judge or Magistrate, either at the
time of, or as soon as practicable after, the Court hearing. Where
possible, details of each hearing must be entered into a computer
system.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 5

Copies of orders

1.11 Any party to the proceedings or their attorney(s) shall be provided


with one copy of any order issued by the Court in respect of those
proceedings. Any additional or further hard copies shall only be
provided upon payment of a fee.

Electronic filing and transmission of documents

1.12 Any party to the proceedings shall be at liberty to file, via electronic
transmission, all and any documents for use and consideration by the
Court, including, inter alia, indictments, the case file, applications,
summonses and submissions.

1.13 The Court may electronically transmit any document including,


summonses, warrants of arrest, bail notices, release documentation
and rulings, to any party, not limited to the police, prison and the
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions by means of email
transmission or fax.

1.14 (i) Where documents are being transmitted by email or fax, it


shall be for the recipient to satisfy themselves as to the
authenticity of the document in question having regard to
factors including, the email address/number from which the
document was transmitted and the appearance of the
document in question.

(ii) Where the recipient has reasonable doubts as to the


authenticity of the documentation, they shall telephone the
sender to verify the information.

(iii) A hard copy of the original documentation should be


forwarded onto the recipient upon request.
6 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

Part 2

TIME LIMITS

Note: The Rules in this Part set down the maximum time-limits within which
every case should be disposed of. Every effort must still be made to dispose of
cases as soon as reasonably practicable, which in some cases will result in a
substantially quicker disposal.

Timeframe for the completion of proceedings: summary matters

2.1 (i) In cases where a Summons has been issued, the First
Hearing must take place within 28 days of the date of the
Summons. In cases where a Defendant is brought before
the Court after charge, the First Hearing must proceed
immediately.

(ii) Subject to Rule 2.5 (exception for expert reports), all case
files must be:

(a) submitted to the prosecutor within 4 weeks from the


date of the First Hearing; and

(b) disclosed to the defence within 8 weeks from the date of


the First Hearing.

(iii) Subject to Rule 2.8 (custody time-limits), every matter to


be tried before a Magistrates Court shall be concluded
within a period not exceeding 39 weeks (9 months) from
the date of the First Hearing.

(iv) In the event of conviction, the Defendant shall be sentenced


by the Court before which he was convicted within a period
not exceeding 21 days from the date of conviction, save
only in the case of exceptional circumstances.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 7

Timeframe for the completion of proceedings: hybrid cases

2.2 (i) In case of a matter that is triable either in the Magistrates


or Supreme Courts, the Court shall determine where the
matter is to be tried at the First Hearing. Where the
prosecutor applies for an adjournment on the basis that
consultation with the Office of the Director of Public
Prosecutions is required, a hearing to determine venue shall
take place no later than 14 days from the date of the First
Hearing.

(ii) Where the Court determines that the matter is to be tried


summarily, the time frame for those proceedings shall be as
set out in Rule 2.1, save that all case files must be:

(a) submitted by the police to the prosecutor within 8 weeks


from the date of the First Hearing; and

(b) disclosed to the defence within 16 weeks from the date


of the First Hearing.

This Rule is subject to Rule 2.5 (exception for expert reports).

(iii) Where the Court determines that the matter is to be tried on


indictment, the time-frame for those proceedings shall be
those set out in Rule 2.3.

Timeframe for the completion of proceedings: trials on indictment

2.3 (i) In cases where a Summons has been issued, the First
Hearing must take place within 28 days of the date of the
Summons. In cases where a Defendant is brought before
the Court after charge, the First Hearing must proceed
immediately.

(ii) Subject to Rule 2.5 (exception for expert reports), all case
files must be:
8 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(a) completed by the police and submitted to the prosecutor


within 12 weeks from the date of the First Hearing; and

(b) disclosed to the defence 14 days before the Preliminary


Inquiry Hearing.

(iii) Whilst having regard also to Rule 8.9 (fast-track in case of


a guilty plea indication), the Preliminary Inquiry shall take
place on a date no later than 26 weeks (6 months) from
the date of the First Hearing.

(iv) Where a case is committed for trial to the Supreme Court,


the Magistrates Court shall identify the next practicable
sitting in which Arraignment can take place and adjourn the
matter until the first day of that sitting. The Supreme Court
must be notified of this date without delay.

(v) The case file shall be transmitted to the Office of the


Director of Public Prosecutions and the Supreme Court no
later than 14 days from the date of the Preliminary Inquiry;

(vi) At least 3 days before the date of the Arraignment hearing


fixed by the Magistrates Court, an indictment must be
preferred and lodged with the Court, except only where the
Director of Public Prosecutions has taken a decision to
discontinue the case.

(vii) Trial is to be listed on the first available date, not before 8


weeks from Arraignment without the consent of the
Defendant;

(viii)Subject to Rules 2.8 (custody time-limits) and 9.2(iii) (priority


cases), every matter to be tried before the Supreme Court
shall be concluded within a period not exceeding 104
weeks (2 years) from the date of the First Hearing.

(ix) In the event of conviction the Defendant shall be sentenced


by the Court within a period not exceeding 21 days from the
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 9

date of conviction, save only in case of exceptional


circumstances.

2.4 Nothing in Rule 2.2(vi) shall be construed to prevent the Director of


Public Prosecutions from lodging an indictment with the Court in
respect of a committed matter that is allocated to a future sitting at any
earlier time, provided that if such an addition is made less than 3 days
before the first day of the sitting of the Court, the Defendant shall be
entitled to apply to the Court for a postponement of the trial to such
day during the said sitting as would, in the opinion of the Court, allow
the Defendant sufficient time to prepare his defence.

Exception for case-file completion: expert reports

2.5 The time-limits in respect of case-files at Rules 2.1(ii), 2.2(ii) and


2.3(ii) do not apply in the following cases:

(i) In the case of any summary matter involving forensic evidence,


excluding DNA, the case-file must be:

(a) submitted to the prosecutor within 8 weeks of the First


Hearing; and

(b) disclosed to the defence within 16 weeks of the First


Hearing.

(ii) In the case of any matter involving DNA evidence, the case-
file must be:

(a) submitted to the prosecutor within 16 weeks of the First


Hearing; and

(b) disclosed to the defence within 20 weeks of the First


Hearing or 14 days before the Preliminary Inquiry
Hearing, as appropriate.

2.6 Where the police are experiencing difficulties in getting an expert


report, they may apply to the Court for a summons to secure the
10 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

attendance of the expert at court to receive an explanation as to the


reasons for the delay. It shall be for the Court to decide whether a
further adjournment is appropriate or the case should proceed to trial
without the evidence from the expert.

Assignment of Counsel

2.7 In capital cases, the Supreme Court must assign counsel to an


unrepresented Defendant no later than 14 days after the case file has
been received from the Magistrates Court.

Note: in line with Rule 8.1, the Magistrate must enquire at the First Hearing
whether or not the Defendant intends to obtain private legal representation in
capital cases and this information must be communicated to the Supreme Court
for assignment to take place where appropriate.

Custody Time Limits

2.8 In the event that a Defendant is remanded to custody, his trial shall
be concluded,:

(i) in the case of a matter triable in the Magistrates Courts, within


a period not exceeding 26 weeks (6 months) from the date of
the First Hearing; and

(ii) in the case of a matter triable in the Supreme Court, within a


period not exceeding 26 weeks (6 months) from the date of the
Arraignment hearing.

Expiration of Custody Time Limits

2.9 Where a Defendants trial has not been concluded within the
applicable custody time limit and where no application has been
made under Rule 2.10, the Court must immediately list the matter for
a custody time limit hearing and a bail application.

2.10 Where, for a reason within the control of the Prosecution, the
Defendants trial will not be concluded within the custody time limits,
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 11

the Prosecution should list the case for an application to extend the
custody time limits. Save where the trial has already commenced, all
and any such applications shall be filed with the Court and served on
the Defendant and, where appropriate, his attorney no later than 21
days before the expiration of the operating time limit.

2.11 Upon such application being made the Court shall list the matter for
hearing on a date no later than 7 days before the expiration of the
operating custody time limit and notify the Office of the Director of
Public Prosecutions or Prosecution Branch, the Defendant and
where appropriate his attorney(s) of the date fixed.

Power to extend custody time limits

2.12 The Court may extend the custody time limits beyond those set out
in Rule 2.8, if satisfied that:

(i) the custody time limit cannot, for good and justifiable reason,
be maintained; and

(ii) it is in the interests of justice to do so.

2.13 In any case where the Court extends the custody time-limit, the trial
must be concluded as soon as reasonably practicable and in any
event not later than the maximum time-limits prescribed in Rules
2.1(iii) (9 months for Magistrates Court) and 2.3(viii) (2 years for
Supreme Court).

2.14 Where the Court refuses to extend the custody time limit, the
Defendant shall be considered for release on bail, subject to such
conditions as are considered just and reasonable in the circumstances.

Failure to comply with time-limits

2.15 Save only in exceptional circumstances, where there has been an


unreasonable failure by the Prosecution to comply with any of the
time-limits prescribed above, the Court must order that the case
immediately proceed to trial or that the matter be dismissed.
12 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

2.16 Save only in exceptional circumstances, where a trial has not been
concluded within the maximum time limits prescribed by Rules 2.1(iii)
(9 months for Magistrates Court) and 2.3(viii) (2 years for Supreme
Court), the Court must order that the case immediately proceed to
trial or that the matter be dismissed.

2.17 The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions or Prosecution


Branch must be given notice and an opportunity to be heard before
an order under Rules 2.15 and 2.16 is made.

2.18 In every case where there has been an unreasonable failure to comply
with the time-limits set down in this Part or unreasonable delay for any
other reason, the court must consider the making of a costs order in
line with Rule 4.9.

Withdrawal/Discontinuation of Proceedings

2.19 (i) Rules 2.15 and 2.16 do not affect the rights of:

(a) a police prosecutor to withdraw criminal proceedings


with the leave of the court under s.50(4) of the
Constitution of Belize; or

(b) the Director of Public Prosecutions to discontinue


criminal proceedings under s.50(2)(c) of the
Constitution of Belize.

(ii) The Court must grant leave to withdraw proceedings under


sub-rule (i)(a) where, upon application by a police
prosecutor, it appears from the evidence available that
there is no realistic prospect of conviction.

(iii) Where no withdrawal application has been made and it


appears to the Court that on the evidence available there is
no realistic prospect of conviction, they should grant an
adjournment of 14 days for the prosecutor to consider
whether the case should be withdrawn.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 13

(iv) A prosecutor shall be entitled to re-commence criminal


proceedings for offences that have been withdrawn in
circumstances, not limited to, where:

(a) it can be shown that there was a realistic prospect of


conviction on the evidence available at the time the
proceedings were withdrawn;

(b) more evidence has since been discovered or obtained,


which provides a realistic prospect of conviction; or

(c) a subsequent judicial decision or order justifies the re-


commencement of the criminal proceedings.

Timeframe for the completion of re-trials

2.20 The time-limits set down in this Part do not apply to re-trials,
which:

(i) in the case of a re-trial upon appeal, shall be heard within 6


months for persons in custody or 9 months for persons on
bail, starting from the date of pronouncement of reasons by the
Court of Appeal;

(ii) in the case of a re-trial following a hung-jury, shall be heard


within 6 months for persons in custody or 9 months for
persons on bail, starting from the date of the verdict being
delivered; or

(iii) in the case of a re-trial upon appeal from a Magistrates Court,


shall be heard within 6 weeks for persons in custody or 3
months for persons on bail, starting from the date of
pronouncement by the Supreme Court judge.

2.21 (i) Where a hung-jury verdict is handed down, the Director of


Public Prosecutions shall notify the court and Defendant
whether or not a re-trial is to take place within 28 days.
14 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(ii) In all cases where notification has not been received in


accordance with sub-Rule (i), the court must immediately
list the matter for a hearing at which the Prosecution and
Defendant are to appear.

PART 3

ADJOURNMENTS

Application for Adjournment

3.1 Adjournment applications must not be considered by the Court


unless notice is filed with the Court 14 days prior to the hearing
in respect of which the application is made and a copy served
upon all other parties, except where it can be shown that the
grounds for the application could not reasonably have been
known before the application is made.

Criteria for Grant of Adjournment

3.2 Subject to Rule 3.3, adjournments shall be granted only if the


Court is satisfied that:

(i) There is good cause for an adjournment; and

(ii) An adjournment is necessary in meeting the interests of justice.

3.3 (i) Where there have been two or more adjournments for the
same reason(s), the Court shall only grant a further
adjournment if exceptional circumstances are shown.

(ii) Priority cases, as determined in accordance with Rule 8.2,


must not be adjourned unless exceptional circumstances can
be shown to the satisfaction of the Court.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 15

(iii) Once a trial has been commenced, an adjournment shall only


be granted where the grounds for the application could not
reasonably have been known at the time the trial started or
where there are exceptional reasons for justifying the delay.

(iv) Unless the Court directs otherwise the Defendant shall attend
or be produced, as appropriate, at the hearing of the application
for an adjournment.

3.4 Applications for an adjournment should be rigorously scrutinized


with, in particular, the following factors to be taken into
consideration:

(i) Summary justice should be speedy justice;

(ii) Delays are scandalous;

(iii) The more serious the charge, the more the public interest
demands that a trial take place;

(iv) The age of the virtual complainant and any other significant
witnesses;

(v) Whether or not the refusal of an adjournment would compromise


the Defendants ability to fully present his defence; and

(vi) The history of adjournments, at whose request any previous


adjournments have been made and the reasons provided.

Notes:
1. The overriding objective of these Rules is the just and expeditious disposal
of cases. This cannot be achieved by the Court readily granting adjournments
without good cause being shown. Particular care is required in respect of
applications that are made once a trial has been commenced and the general
presumption in such cases should always be against an adjournment being
granted.
16 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

2. This Part applies equally to cases in which a Defendants attorney has failed
to attend. In line with Rule 4.6(vii), an attorney is obliged to notify the Court
immediately should they become aware of a conflicting fixture. A defendant is
not entitled to repeated adjournments to secure the right to legal representation;
R v Robinson (1985) 32 WIR 330, PC. The overriding consideration must be
the requirements of justice, for both the Prosecution and the defence; R v De
Oliveira [1997] Crim L.R. 600.

PART 4

CASE MANAGEMENT

The Courts responsibility and powers

4.1 The Court shall actively manage cases in pursuit of delivering


justice and ensuring that the delivery of justice is fair, timely and
efficient, including by:

(i) the early identification of the issues;

(ii) the early identification of the witnesses and their needs;

(iii) clarifying and giving clear and robust directions in respect of


what is required, by whom and by what date in respect of the
preparation of the case for trial;

(iv) ensuring that the evidence is disclosed as speedily as possible


and is presented in the most concise and comprehensive
manner;

(v) ensuring, by the giving of directions and the making of costs


orders as may be appropriate, that no unnecessary and
avoidable delay is encountered in the proper completion of any
criminal proceedings;
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 17

(vi) otherwise ensuring that the timetable for proceedings stipulated


in these Rules and various legislation is adhered to;

(vii) giving any directions necessary for the fair and proper conduct
of the proceedings as early as possible; and

(viii) making use of technology as appropriate and available.

4.2 (i) The Court may give any direction and take any step to
manage a case actively, unless that direction or step would
be inconsistent with any enactment or these Rules.

(ii) In particular the Court may:

(a) appoint a Case Manager to monitor the progress of and


manage cases;

(b) list cases for Case Management Hearings to monitor the


progress of and manage cases;

(c) issue a direction on its own initiative or on the application


of any party;

(d) for the purpose of giving directions, receive applications


and representations by fax, email, telephone or by any
electronic means and conduct a hearing via such means;

(e) fix, postpone, bring forward, extend or cancel a hearing;

(f) shorten or extend a time limit fixed by a direction;

(g) otherwise vary or revoke a direction;

(h) require that issues in the case should be determined


separately and decide in what order they will be
determined;
18 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(i) schedule pre-trial hearings to determine legal arguments,


including those relating to the admissibility of evidence at
trial; and

(j) specify the consequences of failing to comply with a


direction.

4.3 Any directions made by a Magistrates Court in a matter which is


subsequently committed for trial to the Supreme Court shall continue
to have effect unless and until the same is revoked, varied or
superseded by a subsequent order of the Supreme Court.

4.4 All and any directions made by the Supreme Court in a matter which
is subsequently heard in a Magistrates Court shall continue to have
effect.

4.5 Any power to give a direction under this Part includes a power to vary
or revoke the direction.

The Duty of the parties

4.6 Each party and their attorney must -

(i) comply timeously with all and any directions of the


Court;

(ii) make all and any reasonable and appropriate efforts to


secure the attendance at Court, as and when required,
of each and every witness upon whom they seek to rely;

(iii) inform the Court and each of the other parties promptly
of anything that may affect the date of trial or the progress
of the case;

(iv) monitor compliance with directions;

(v) ensure that they can be contacted promptly during


business hours;
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 19

(vi) act promptly and reasonably in response to all and any


communications about the case;

(vii) attend each and every hearing and, in the case of


counsel, ensure that if they are not available to attend any
particular hearing that they cause an appropriate
alternative representative to attend in their stead, it being
noted that:

(a) failure to do so may result in an order for costs


being made against them pursuant to Rule 4.9
below; and

(b) it will not be acceptable for an application for an


adjournment to be sought simply because counsel
is avoidably absent from a hearing.

Power to grant expedited hearing

4.7 (i) In any matter in which any of the following:

(a) the Defendant;

(c) the virtual complainant; or

(d) a material witness who is required to attend to give


evidence either by the Prosecution or defence,

is about to leave the jurisdiction without expectation of


return prosecutor and/or the Defendant shall be at liberty to
request an expedited hearing of the matter.

(ii) Such an application shall not be granted unless the Court


considers:

(a) that to do so will not prejudice the Defendant in


any significant way; and

(b) that it is in the interests of justice to do so.


20 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(iii) All and any applications for an expedited hearing shall be


made in writing and shall be filed with the Court and
served upon each of the relevant parties.

Case Management Forms and Directions

4.8 (i) The Case Management Forms attached to these Rules must
be used by all parties.

(ii) The Case Management Forms attached to these Rules may be


added to or amended by the Chief Justice at any time.

(iii) The Court must provide a written record of case management


directions made to all parties.

Wasted Costs Orders

4.9 (i) The Court shall have the power, in the circumstances set out
below, to order that the costs of and associated with any
wasted hearing shall be borne by a particular person or
party involved with the proceedings.

(ii) The Court shall only make a wasted costs order where the
wasted hearing has resulted from the improper, unreasonable
or negligent act or omission on the part of any person or party
involved with the proceedings.

(iii) The Court shall only make such costs orders if:

(a) it considers that the act or omission giving rise to the


circumstances set out in sub-Rule (ii) above could
reasonably have been avoided; and

(b) having heard representations from the person or party


against whom the Court is considering making such a
costs order the Court considers it to be reasonable and
in the interests of justice to do so.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 21

(iv) Failure to pay a costs order will constitute contempt of court.

4.10 Rule 4.9 shall come into force on the 15th September, 2016 six
months from the commencement date of these Rules.

Notes:
1. The power to make a costs order can be exercised against any person or
party involved with the proceedings. This includes, but is not limited to, the
Police Department and its officers, the Office of the Director of Public
Prosecutions and its Crown Counsel, defence law firms or attorneys, forensic
services personnel or witnesses.

2. Before making a wasted costs order, it is important that the Court first
establishes who is responsible for the act or omission giving rise to the wasted
hearing.

PART 5

DISCLOSURE

Disclosure by the Prosecution

5.1 At every First Hearing, the Prosecution must serve on the Court
and Defendant a copy of the summons / charge sheet and a fact
sheet outlining the nature of the case against him.

Note: the fact sheet is a document for administrative purposes only and is not
admissible in evidence at a subsequent trial or voir dire. Its contents should not
form part of the Magistrates consideration at Preliminary Inquiry.

5.2 The Prosecution must then provide disclosure to the Defendant:

(i) in the case of summary only matters, within eight weeks from
the date of the First Hearing;

(ii) in the case of hybrid matters triable summarily, within sixteen


weeks from the date of the First Hearing; and
22 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(iii) in the case of indictable matters:

(a) 14 days before the Preliminary Inquiry; and

(b) once the matter has been committed to the Supreme


Court, within 14 days before the Arraignment hearing.

5.3 Disclosure means providing every Defendant with a copy of the


case file, except for any material that is administrative in nature,
legally privileged or that is covered by public interest immunity;

Note: where the case file has not been completed within the time limits
prescribed above, police officers must submit to the prosecutor and disclose
to the Defendant as much of the case file as has been prepared (partial
disclosure).

5.4 (i) Where a Defendant is represented, disclosure shall be


taken to have been provided when it is served on the
Defendants attorney.

(ii) Where a Defendant is unrepresented, disclosure shall be


taken to have been provided when,:

(a) in the case of a Defendant on bail, it is ready for


collection at the office of the Prosecution Branch or
the Supreme Court Registry, as appropriate; or

(b) in the case of a Defendant in custody, it is delivered


to the Belize Central Prison.

(iii) A Defendant shall be asked to sign, or send an email


acknowledgement, for receipt of the disclosure once it has
been received.

Notices of Additional Evidence

5.5 (i) The Prosecution shall be liberty to file and serve any
additional evidence which may come into its possession and
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 23

on which it intends to rely at any time prior to the close of


the Prosecution case.

(ii) In the event that any such additional disclosure is made the
Court may, either of its own volition or upon application
made by or on behalf of the Defendant,

(a) adjourn the matter to provide adequate time for the


proper consideration of any such evidence; and/or

(b) award the costs incurred by such an adjournment against


the Prosecution or police as may be appropriate in line
with Rule 4.9.

Request for disclosure by the defence

5.6 (i) Where, upon a written application from the defence, the
Court is satisfied that there is material that is relevant to the
case in possession of the Prosecution that has not been
disclosed, the Court shall order the disclosure of that
material.

(ii) All and any such orders shall be complied with within 14
days of the Courts decision.

5.7 All and any requests for disclosure shall be made as soon as
reasonably practicable after receipt of the disclosure from the
Prosecution.

Copies of Disclosure

5.8 One complete copy of the prosecution disclosure must be made


available to the Defendant free of charge. Thereafter, any additional
copies are to be made upon payment of a reasonable sum.
24 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

Disclosure by Defence: Alibi

5.9 (i) Where the Defendant intends to plead an alibi, he shall give
notice of the particular of this defence within 7 days from
the Preliminary Inquiry or service of the Notice of Additional
Evidence, as appropriate.

(ii) An alibi notice must include the name, address and contact
details of the witness or, if the name or address is not known
to the Defendant at the time he gives the notice, any information
in his possession which might be of material assistance in
finding the witness;

(iii) If the name or the address is not included in that notice, the
Defendant must thereafter continue to take all reasonable steps
to ensure that the name, address and contact details is
ascertained;

(iv) If the name, address and contact details are not included in that
notice, but the Defendant subsequently discovers the name,
address or contact details or receives other information which
might be of material assistance in finding the witness, he must
forthwith give notice of the name, address, contact details or
other information, as the case may be; and

(v) If the Defendant is notified by or on behalf of the Prosecution


that the witness has not been traced by the information given
he must forthwith give notice of any such information, which is
then in his possession and which might be of material assistance.

Withholding of Disclosure

5.10 (i) Upon formal written application being received and good
cause being shown the Court may, at any time, order that
any disclosure provided for by these Rules shall be denied
or deferred or make any other order in respect of the same
as may be deemed appropriate.

(ii) Any such application may be heard in chambers.


Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 25

PART 6

BAIL

Bail to be set at the First Hearing in the Magistrates Court

6.1 Where a Defendant appears in custody at the First Hearing the


Court shall, subject to any restrictions prohibiting or otherwise
limiting the power to grant bail by virtue of existing legislation,
consider whether it is appropriate to grant bail and may when
doing so impose any such conditions as seem just and reasonable
in the circumstances.

Bail following Arrest Warrant

6.2 (i) At the time of issuing an arrest warrant the Judge, Magistrate
or justice of the peace as the case may be, shall set terms
and conditions of bail (unless bail is denied) pending the
next hearing of the matter unless, by virtue of existing
legislation the granting of bail is prohibited or otherwise
limited.

(ii) The terms and conditions referred to in sub-Rule (i) above


shall be endorsed on the warrant and the officer in charge
of the police station to which the Defendant is taken shall
arrange for the Defendants immediate release on bail upon
satisfaction of those terms and conditions.

Review of Bail in respect of persons remanded in custody

6.3 (i) The Court Administrator shall prepare, by the first working
day in each month, a list of all persons who were remanded
into custody in the previous month by virtue of their inability
to satisfy the conditions of bail.

(ii) The list referred to in sub-Rule (i) above shall contain in


respect of each person listed:
26 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(a) the date of their remand,

(b) the offences in respect of which they are remanded;

(c) if appropriate, their previous compliance with bail


conditions;

(d) their bail conditions; and

(e) a brief summary of all and any bail applications made in


respect of the alleged offences.

(iii) The Chief Justice shall cause the list to be reviewed by a Judge
or Magistrate who may, with or without application being
made by or on behalf of the Defendant, grant bail subject to
such conditions as seem just and reasonable in the circumstances,
save that no variation shall result in more onerous conditions
being imposed.

Note: Rule 2.9 requires the Court to immediately list a bail application where
a remanded Defendants trial has not been concluded within the custody time
limits.

Application for bail

6.4 (i) Subject to any restrictions prohibiting or otherwise limiting


the power to grant bail by virtue of existing legislation and
upon application made to the Court by a Defendant, a
Judge or Magistrate may at any time, whether the Defendant
has been committed for trial or not, consider the issue of
bail.

(ii) Where a Defendant is in custody and is not represented by


an attorney, the bail application must be lodged with a
person responsible for the administration of the Prison who
shall immediately file the application with the Court.

(iii) Upon receipt of a bail application, the Court must


Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 27

(a) immediately send a copy of the application to the Office


of the Director of Public Prosecutions or Prosecution
Branch, as appropriate;

(b) fix a date, time and place to hear the application; and

(c) give notice of the date, time and place to

(i) the applicant;

(ii) the prosecutor; and

(iii) the Prison.

PART 7

COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDINGS

Summary Offences

7.1 The prosecution of summary offences shall be commenced by the


hearing of a complaint, which may take place in the following
ways:

(i) A Magistrate or justice of the peace may issue a summons


if a complaint is made before them that a person has
committed, or is suspected to have committed, any summary
conviction offence.

(ii) A Magistrate or justice of the peace may issue a warrant of


apprehension where a complaint is made in writing and
upon oath that a person has committed, or is suspected to
have committed a summary conviction offence and where
good cause is shown to him for doing so.

(iii) Any person arrested or detained without warrant must be


brought before the court for an information to be laid:
28 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(a) where the Defendant is being held in custody, within 48


hours from arrest or detention; or

(b) where the Defendant has been released on bail, within


28 days from arrest or detention.

Indictable/Hybrid Offences

7.2 The prosecution of indictable/hybrid offences shall be commenced


by the laying of an information or the hearing of a complaint, which
may take place in the following ways:

(i) A Magistrate or a justice of the peace may issue a summons


if a complaint is made before them that an indictable or
hybrid offence has been committed by any person and they
are of the opinion that a case for doing so is made out.

(ii) A Magistrate or justice of the peace may issue a warrant of


apprehension where a complaint is made in writing and
upon oath that a person has committed an indictable or
hybrid offence and they are of the opinion that a case for
doing so is made out.

(iii) Any person arrested or detained without warrant must be


brought before the court for a complaint to be heard:

(a) where the Defendant is being held in custody, within 48


hours from arrest or detention; or

(b) where the Defendant has been released on bail, within


28 days from arrest or detention.

Summons

7.3 (i) An application for a summons may be made even where


there is not a complaint or information in writing or upon
oath.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 29

(ii) A summons shall contain the following:-

(a) a statement of the alleged offence together with the


relevant section of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences)
Act or Criminal Code Act (or other legislation, as may
be appropriate);

(b) a brief statement of the nature of the complaint including


the date, time and place of the alleged offence(s);

(c) the date, time and Court venue at which the Defendant
is to appear in answer to the summons, which shall be not
less than 48 hours and not later than 28 days after the
date upon which the summons is issued; and

(d) a warning to the Defendant that in the event that he fails


to attend Court as required a warrant for his arrest may
be issued.

(iii) A summons shall be signed by the Magistrate or justice of


the peace issuing it.

Service of Summons

7.4 (i) A copy of the summons shall be issued and transmitted to


the police, if necessary, within 7 days of the complaint being
made or information being laid;

(ii) Thereafter the summons shall be served upon the Defendant


within 14 days;

(iii) Service shall be effected, save as provided for in sub-Rule


(iv), by delivering the summons directly to the person to
whom it is addressed or if the same is not practicable by
delivering it to the said persons usual place of abode or last
known address;

(iv) A Defendant in respect of whom a summons has been


issued is deemed to have been lawfully served:
30 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(a) in the case of a master or seaman or other person


employed on any ship or vessel if the summons is either
delivered directly to him or to the captain or officer in
charge of the vessel;

(b) in the case of a company, firm or partnership by being


delivered to a partner, director, mayor, chairman,
president, manager or secretary or other official thereof
at the ordinary place of business; and

(v) A body of trustees may be summoned by serving a summons


upon any one of them resident in Belize or on their appointed
attorney.

Proof of service of summons

7.5 (i) Service of a summons may be proved:

(a) by a certificate of service containing the details of the


date, time, place and method of service, completed and
signed by the person effecting service being filed with the
Court; or

(b) in the event that it has not been reasonably practicable


for such a certificate to be filed, by the Court hearing oral
evidence in respect of service from the person who
executed service of the summons.

(ii) A certificate of service shall be filed with the Court within


2 days after service has been executed and in any event
prior to the appointed date of hearing.

(iii) A person who effects service of a summons shall, unless a


certificate of service duly completed has been filed with the
Court, attend the Court hearing to which the Defendant was
summoned in order to be able to give evidence in respect
of service if necessary.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 31

(iv) Failure to execute or file a certificate of service does not


affect the validity of the service, subject to the provisions of
sub-Rule (i)(b) and (iii) above.

(v) A police officer may file a certificate of service via electronic


means.

Application of Rules to witness statements

7.6 Rules 7.5 and 7.6 shall apply mutatis mutandis to witness
statements.

Unexecuted Arrest Warrants

7.7 (i) The Court Administrator shall prepare quarterly reports on


the status of all arrest warrants, including bench warrants,
that were issued during that period.

(ii) In the event that an arrest warrant remains unexecuted for more
than 30 days, a Magistrate or Judge may require the
Commissioner of Police to report as to the status of the
unexecuted warrants and the efforts made to execute the same.

(iii) The Court may, if it deems the same to be in the interests of


justice, discharge an unexecuted warrant.

Case inactivation

7.8 Where a warrant for the arrest of a Defendant remains unexecuted


for a period of twelve months after the date of issue of the
warrant, the case will be placed on an inactive list and will only
be reactivated when the warrant is executed and the Defendant
brought before the Court.
32 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

PART 8

PROCEDURAL STAGES and


TIMETABLE: MAGISTRATES COURT

The First Hearing

8.1 (i) The First Hearing in each case shall be conducted by a


Magistrate.

(ii) The First Hearing shall take place no later than 28 days
from the date of issue of the complaint / summons /
information.

(iii) At the First Hearing the following shall occur:

(a) verification of the Defendants identity, current address


and contact details;

(b) if the Defendant is, or intends to be, represented details


of representation shall be provided;

(c) if the Defendant is not represented any intention or


request on the part of the Defendant that he will be legally
represented shall be recorded;

(d) the charges shall be read to the Defendant by the


Magistrate and the fact sheet, summarizing the evidence,
shall be read aloud by the prosecutor;

(e) the Defendant shall be given an explanation of his or her


rights, including, where appropriate, the right to:

(i) bail;

(ii) legal representation and the right to have counsel


appointed at the expense of the State in capital
cases;
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 33

(iii) silence, save in respect of confirmation of his or


her name and contact details;

(iv) a trial;

(v) an interpreter; and

(vi) if the Defendant is in custody, the custody time-


limits;

(f) consideration of bail shall take place;

(iv) subject to Rule 8.2, the Defendant shall be required


to enter a plea to the charge; and

(v) notification, both oral and in writing, shall be given


to the Defendant of the date for the next hearing.

Note: Rule 8.1(iii) to (v) does not apply in cases where a person pleads guilty
by post in accordance with section 41 of the Summary Jurisdiction (Procedure)
Act.

Entering Pleas

8.2 (i) For summary only matters, every Defendant shall be required
to enter a plea at the First Hearing.

(ii) For hybrid matters, the Defendant shall be required to enter


a plea immediately if the court determines that it is to be tried
summarily.

(iii) For indictable matters, the Defendant shall be asked whether


or not he wishes to indicate a plea at the start of every
hearing in a Magistrates Court.
34 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

Venue Hearing

8.3 (i) A Venue Hearing shall only take place in hybrid cases.

(ii) Venue Hearings are to be conducted by a Magistrate and,


wherever possible, this should be done at the same time as
the First Hearing.

(iii) The purpose of the Venue Hearing is to determine whether


the matter should be tried or sentenced, as appropriate
taking into account any plea indication, in the Magistrates
Court or the Supreme Court.

Not Guilty pleas: summary cases

8.4 Where a Not Guilty plea is entered to a summary matter, the


Magistrate shall immediately require the following information
from all parties through the completion of a Case Management
Form:

(i) witness requirements;

(ii) the date and method by which prosecution disclosure will


be provided (in accordance with Rules 5.2 and 5.4);

(iii) any issues of fact and law to be resolved and whether or not
a pre-trial hearing can be listed to determine these; and

(iv) any foreseeable impediments to the matter proceeding to


trial effectively.

8.5 If either party indicates that expert evidence will be in dispute at


trial, the court shall direct that:

(i) a meeting of experts take place before the trial hearing to


identify which matters can be agreed between them; and

(ii) a report, summarizing the conclusions of the experts


meeting, be filed with the court as soon as reasonably
practicable after that meeting has taken place.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 35

8.6 The Magistrate shall list the matter for a trial to take place as soon
as reasonably practicable, having regard to the seriousness and
complexity of the case and, in any event, within the time limits
prescribed in Rules 2.1(iii) and 2.8 (6 months if person is in
custody and 9 months in all other cases).

Guilty plea indications in indictable cases expedited process

8.7 Where a Defendant indicates that he intends to enter a guilty plea


to an indictable offence, in accordance with Rule 8.2(iii), the
matter shall be listed for a preliminary inquiry to take place within
14 days.

Accepting Guilty pleas

8.8 (i) Before accepting a plea of guilty to any or all of the charges
the Magistrate must satisfy themselves, either by questioning
the Defendant personally or by calling upon counsel to lead
the questioning, that the Defendant committed the alleged
offence(s), that the plea is entered voluntarily and that it is
made with an appropriate understanding of the
consequences.

(ii) A Magistrate may refuse to accept any plea of guilty if he or


she is not satisfied that any of the conditions set out in sub-
Rule (i) above are not met and/or that it is not in the interests
of justice to do so.

(iii) If a plea of guilty is not accepted the fact of the guilty plea
having been given shall not admissible as evidence in any
subsequent trial in respect of that alleged offence.

8.9 If the Defendant is prepared to plead guilty to alternative offences


from the one(s) with which he has been charged, he shall inform
the Prosecution and the court upon arraignment.

8.10 Where the prosecutor requires an adjournment to consult with the


Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions before accepting a
36 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

plea to an alternative offence, the Court shall list the case for a
hearing to take place in no later than 14 days.

Note: when accepting a guilty plea, the court must enquire whether that plea
was offered by the Defendant at an earlier stage in the proceedings. If so, the
Prosecution must explain why it was not reasonable for that offer to have been
accepted before.

Preliminary Inquiries

8.11 (i) The defence shall notify the Prosecution if the Preliminary
Inquiry is to be contested at least 7 days before it is due to
be heard;

(ii) Having determined that the case should be committed to the


Supreme Court, the Court shall:

(a) identify the next practicable sitting within which the case
might be heard;

(b) list the matter for Arraignment on the first day of that
sitting;

(b) give directions in respect of the date and method for


prosecution disclosure (in accordance with Rules 5.2
and 5.4);

(c) consider, subject to any prohibition or other limitations


arising from existing legislation, the issue of bail;

(d) obtain an address for the Defendant, if on bail, so that a


notice of all witness requirements can be served on him
in accordance with section 55 of the Indictable Procedure
Act;

(e) inform the Defendant of his right to require the attendance


of any witnesses not being called to physically give
evidence and the procedures involved for enforcing such
attendance; and
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 37

(f) notify the Defendant, orally and in writing, of the date for
the Arraignment hearing.

8.12 In capital cases, the Court must enquire whether the Defendant
intends to secure his own representation and this information must
be communicated to the Supreme Court at the same time as the
case file is transmitted to the Supreme Court in accordance with
Rules 2.2(iv) and 8.11.

8.13 As per Rule 2.3(v), the Magistrates Court shall, within 14 days
of the date upon which a case is committed to the Supreme Court,
send the case file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
and the Supreme Court.

PART 9

PROCEDURAL STAGES and TIMETABLE:


SUPREME COURT

Priority Cases

9.1 (i) Upon receipt of a case file in respect of a case committed


to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court and the Office of
the Director of Public Prosecutions shall immediately
consider whether or not the case is a priority for the
purpose of its listing for trial, having regard to the following
factors:

(a) Whether the Defendant is on remand or on bail;

(b) If on remand, the length of time the Defendant has been


awaiting trial;

(c) The age and mental state of the Defendant;

(d) The age and vulnerability of any witnesses, having


particular regard to whether the passage of time would
38 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

result in an unusually increased risk of memory loss or


unwillingness to give evidence; and

(e) Any other factor that the Court considers to be relevant.

(ii) All priority cases must be clearly labeled and the details
immediately notified to the Supreme Court or the Office of
the Director of Public Prosecutions, as appropriate.

(iii) Every effort shall be made to list priority cases for trial
within the same sitting to which the matter has been
committed.

Preferment of the Indictment

9.2 (i) In the event that a Defendant is committed to the Supreme


Court for trial the Director of Public Prosecutions may
either prefer an indictment or decline to do so.

(ii) All indictments shall be preferred and filed with the Court
as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event not later
than 3 days before the Arraignment hearing.

(iii) In the event that the Director of Public Prosecutions declines


to prefer an indictment, written notice of that decision shall
be given to the Chief Justice and the Defendant and his
attorney as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event
not later than 3 days before Arraignment.

Signing of indictments

9.3 All indictments shall be signed by the Director of Public


Prosecutions or by Crown Counsel acting under and in accordance
with the Directors general or special instructions, in which case
a statement to that effect shall be endorsed on the face of the
indictment.
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 39

Filing of indictments

9.4 (i) All indictments shall be filed with the office of the Registrar
of the Supreme Court.

(ii) At the time of filing two copies shall be filed for use by the
Court, together with sufficient number of additional copies
to ensure service of the indictment on every Defendant.

Service of the indictment

9.5 The Registrar shall cause a copy of the indictment to be served


upon each Defendant or his attorney within 7 days of the
indictment being filed with the Court or at the time of the
Arraignment hearing, whichever is the earlier.

Assignment of Counsel

9.6 In cases where counsel is to be assigned to the Defendant, this


must be done by the Supreme Court within 14 days of the receipt
of the case file from the Magistrates Court. Wherever possible,
the Court must seek representations as to the availability of the
anticipated attorney before finalizing the assignment.

9.7 Once counsel has been assigned to a case, recusal may only take
place following a hearing if the Court is satisfied that both
reasonable grounds exist and a suitably qualified alternative
counsel can be secured without delay.

Arraignment

9.8 On the first day of each Supreme Court sitting, the Arraignment
of all Defendants committed to that sitting shall take place.

9.9 (i) Before arraigning the Defendant, all parties shall indicate
their readiness for arraignment through the completion of a
case management form.
40 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

(ii) The Judge shall inform the Defendant of the following:

(a) if appropriate, the right to legal representation, bail and/


or an interpreter;

(b) the plea process and the right to reduction in sentence for
a guilty plea;

(c) that if the Defendant pleads not guilty the case will be
scheduled for trial to be heard before a judge alone or
jury, as appropriate; and

(d) the right to receive an indication of the applicable range


of sentences or options for sentencing before entering a
plea.

9.10 The Defendant shall then be arraigned by each charge on the


indictment being read aloud and the Defendant being asked to
enter a plea in respect of them.

Not Guilty Pleas

9.11 If a Not Guilty plea is entered, the following matters shall be


addressed through the completion of a case management form:

(i) in capital cases, the progress of assigning counsel to the


Defendant;

(ii) the date and method for Prosecution disclosure (in accordance
with Rules 5.2 and 5.4);

(iii) the particulars of an alibi defence;

(iv) any issues of fact and law to be resolved and whether or not
a pre-trial hearing can be listed to determine these;

(v) which witnesses the Defendant requires to physically attend


trial, their availability and the issuing of witness summonses;
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 41

(vi) which depositions can be read as agreed evidence and/or put


into admissions in accordance with Rules 10.2 and 10.5; and

(vii) the estimated length of trial, including the likely length of witness
examinations; and

(viii) any requirements for special assistance or an interpreter.

9.12 If either party indicates that expert evidence will be in dispute at


trial, the court shall direct that:

(i) a meeting of experts take place before the trial hearing to


identify which matters are agreed between them; and

(ii) a report, summarizing the conclusions of the experts meeting,


be filed with the court as soon as reasonably practicable
after that meeting has taken place.

Guilty Pleas

9.13 (i) Before accepting a plea of guilty to an indictment or any part


thereof the Judge must satisfy him or herself, either by
questioning the Defendant personally or by calling upon
counsel to lead the questioning, that the Defendant
committed the alleged offence(s), that the plea is entered
voluntarily and that it is made with an appropriate
understanding of the consequences.

(ii) A Judge may refuse to accept a plea of guilty if he or she is not


satisfied that any of the conditions set out in sub-Rule (i) above
are not met and/or that it is not in the interests of justice to do
so.

(iii) If a plea of guilty is not accepted the fact of the guilty plea having
been given shall not be admissible as evidence in any subsequent
trial in respect of that alleged offence.
42 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

9.14 If the Defendant is prepared to plead guilty to alternative offences


from the one(s) with which he has been charged, he shall inform
the Prosecution and the court at the Arraignment hearing.

9.15 Where the prosecutor requires an adjournment to consult with the


Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions before accepting a
plea to an alternative offence, the Court shall list the case for a
hearing to take place in no later than 14 days.

Note: when accepting a guilty plea, the court must consider whether that plea
has been offered by the Defendant at an earlier stage in the proceedings. If so,
the Prosecution will be required to explain why it was not reasonable for that
plea to have been entered at that earlier stage.

Sentence Range Indication and Reduction in Sentence

9.16 Save and except in cases in which a minimum sentence is


prescribed by law, a Judge may give credit, thereby reducing the
sentence which would otherwise have been imposed following
conviction after trial, to a Defendant who pleads guilty either at or
subsequent to Arraignment. The nature and extent of any such
credit shall be in the discretion of the Judge save that credit for
pleas entered subsequent to Arraignment shall not be equal to any
credit which would have been applicable had the plea been
entered at that hearing.

9.17 The Court shall follow any Judges Rules that are in force in
respect of sentence indication hearings.

PART 10

GENERAL PROCEDURAL MATTERS

Agreed Evidence

Note: the starting point for the Prosecution should be to read all depositions
into evidence. It should only be in respect of those witnesses who provide such
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 43

material evidence that without the giving of live evidence the prosecution case
might be weakened, that consideration should be given to calling them in
person.

10.1 Before trial, all parties must carefully consider whether or not the
contents of a witness deposition are agreed, in which case the
physical attendance of a witness at trial will ordinarily be
unnecessary. Even where a witness gives material evidence, the
interests of justice may not be served in requiring that witness to
attend trial.

10.2 The depositions of all witnesses whose attendance is not


considered to be necessary by the Prosecution and who are not
bound by the defence to attend the trial at the time of the
Arraignment hearing, will be read in accordance with section 123
of the Indictable Procedure Act.

10.3 Where Notices of Additional Evidence are served, the Defendant


must notify the Court and Prosecution whether any of those
depositions can be agreed within 14 days of service. Failure to
provide notification may result in those witness depositions being
read in accordance with section 123 of the Indictable Procedure
Act.

10.4 The Defendant is entitled, but not required, to share the depositions
on which he intends to rely as part of his defence case with the
Prosecution. The Prosecution must consider whether or not they
can agree the statement for it to be read into evidence if shared.

10.5 Whenever possible, relevant parts from an agreed deposition


should be distilled into a set of admissions, agreed between all
parties pursuant to section 106 of the Evidence Act. Admissions
should be filed with the Court no later than 7 days before the trial
date.

Note: failure to file admissions with the Court within the time-limit set down by
Rule 10.5 will not prohibit admissions from being adduced into evidence. This
form of agreed evidence should be utilized wherever possible in criminal trials.
44 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

Interpretation

10.6 Subject to the following and unless the context otherwise requires,
the Interpretation Act shall apply to these Rules:

attorney means an Attorney-at-Law and includes Crown Counsel;

children means persons under the age of 18 years;

company means a company or other body corporate wherever or however


incorporated, and includes:

(a) a limited liability company; or

(b) a limited liability partnership; or

(c ) a protected cell company; or

(d) an international business company;

complaint includes any information or charge;

Court except where specifically stated means the Supreme Court and a
Magistrates Court, acting in the exercise of its criminal jurisdiction, and
includes the Judge or Magistrate;

Defendant means a person against whom a complaint, information or charge


has been laid and shall include accused persons;

Family Court means a Family Court established under the Family Courts Act
(Chapter 93 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011);

hybrid offence means any offence that may be tried in either the Magistrates
Court or the Supreme Court;

indictable offence means any offence that is to be tried in the Supreme Court;

Judge means a Judge of the Supreme Court;


Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 45

Magistrates Court means a summary jurisdiction court established under the


Inferior Courts Act;

order includes any conviction;

the Prosecution includes any person or party involved with the prosecution
of the case;

prosecutor includes Crown Counsel, civilian and police prosecutors;

summary only offences are those triable only in a Magistrates Court; and

virtual complainant includes any victim or informant.


46 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016

APPENDIX 1

SUMMARY OF
TIME LIMITS
FOR CRIMINAL
PROCEEDINGS
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 47
48 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 49
50 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 51

APPENDIX 2

CASE MANAGEMENT
FORMS
52 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 53
54 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 55
56 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 57
58 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 59
60 Criminal Procedure Rules 2016
Criminal Procedure Rules 2016 61

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