Butler v R

JudgeGeorges, C.J.
Judgment Date21 November 1986
CourtSupreme Court (Bahamas)
Docket NumberCriminal Side No. 90 of 1986
Date21 November 1986

Supreme Court

Georges, C.J.

Criminal Side No. 90 of 1986


Godfrey Pinder for the applicant.

G. Brown for the respondent.

Practice and procedure - Bail — Applicant charged with attempted murder contrary to s. 338 of the Penal Code and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life contrary to s. 35(4) of the Firearms Act — Applicant convicted of lesser offence appealed but thirteen 913) months later appeal not heard —Whether bail should be granted applicant in light of the fact that his appeal was delayed for an unreasonably long time — Court found that it had no power to grant bail since there were no exceptional circumstances meriting it in the interest of justice.

Georges, C.J.

reserved the ruling on this application in order to put it in writing since it is unusual.


The applicant had been charged with the offences of attempted murder contrary to s.338 of the Penal Code and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life contrary to section 35 (4) of the Firearms Act. He was convicted on 18 October, 1985 of the lesser offence of causing grievous harm and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. On the first count he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and on the second count to 10 years imprisonment, the terms to run concurrently.


He appealed promptly against conviction and sentence, but this appeal has not been heard some 13 months later. Inquiries reveal that the record has not yet been prepared. In criminal appeals there should be the utmost despatch in the preparation of records. They merit the highest priority and the delay in this case is undoubtedly undue.


Mr. Pinder now applies for bail stressing this delay. He also advances that the applicant is a Bahamian national living in Freeport. This was his first conviction. He had been on bail pending his trial and had faithfully appeared. There was no ground for suspecting that he might abscond.


The power to grant bail does exist in this case.


The issue is the determination of guidelines for the exercise of that power. Consideration' was given to this matter in the English case of Watton (1979) 68 Cr. App. R. 293. In that case, unlike this. there had been a refusal of bail by the single judge before the application reached the Court of Appeal; but this factor does not appear to me to be crucial. The court concluded that the true question was whether there were exceptional...

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