Mackey v Attorney General

CourtSupreme Court (Bahamas)
JudgeHilton, J.
Judgment Date23 March 2016
Docket NumberCri/bail/5/2016
Date23 March 2016

Supreme Court

Hilton, J. (Ag.)


Attorney General

Kieth Seymour for applicant

Viola Barnett for respondent

Cases Mentioned:

Jonathan Armbrister v. AG SCCr App. No. 145 of 2011Hurnam v. The StateNoordally v. Attorney General and another [1987] LRC

Criminal practice and procedure - Bail — Charged with armed robbery — Applicable principles as to whether bail should be granted considered — Whether the applicant should be granted bail where the offence charged was a serious offence, there was no unreasonable delay in the prosecution of the matter and a trial date set; cogency of evidence against the applicant which has to be vetted at trial and the fact that if found guilty a lengthy sentence would be imposed so it was likely that the applicant could be tempted to abscond — Bail refused.

Hilton, J. (AG):


The applicant is a Bahamian Citizen. He is 20 years old having been born on 21st February 1996. He was charged with Armed Robbery on 215t December 2015 in the Magistrate's Court and remanded to the Bahamas Department of Corrections. He was arraigned in the Supreme Court on a Voluntary Bill of Indictment and a trial date has been fixed for 8th May 2017. He has no previous convictions or other cases pending.


The applicant had previously applied for bail which hearing was heard on 20th January 2016 before Justice Bernard Turner and bail was denied for reasons specified in the ruling dated 28th January 2016.


The applicant has now applied for bail on the principal grounds that:

  • a) He is presumed innocent under the provisions of the Constitution.

  • b) The evidence against him is weak and he does not know the compliant and would not interfere with compliant or other witnesses.

  • c) He poses no threat to society and will appear for his trial.

  • d) The facility of having reporting conditions to a Police Station and/or electronic monitoring device are adequate means to ensure the whereabouts of the applicant at all times and are sufficient safeguards to prevent any attempt at absconding.


The Attorney General has objected to the grant of bail on the following grounds:

  • a) The Charge of Armed Robbery is a serious charge for which bail should not be granted unless there is unreasonable delay.

  • b) The penalty the applicant is liable to suffer (if convicted) is severe possibility of life imprisonment and this gives the applicant a strong incentive to abscond or otherwise obstruct the course of justice.

  • c) The evidence against the applicant is cogent and strong as the virtual compliant identified the applicant on an identification parade.

  • d) There has been no unreasonable delay in the matter.


In determining what is the appropriate decision in this application the court has reviewed the relevant sections of the Bail Act as amended and the case authorities.


The proper test of whether bail should be granted or refused is whether it is probable that the defendant will appear to take his trial. Bail is not to be withheld as a punishment. In the case of Jonathan Armbrister v. A.G. S.C.Cr. App.No. 145 of 2011 John J-A. at paragraph 11, 12 and 13 gave a review of the applicable principles. At paragraph 11 he stated.

“A good starting point in reviewing the principles applicable where an (applicant) has been charged but not yet put on trial is the statement of Lord Bingham of Cornhill in Hurnam v. The state where he said at paragraph 1,

‘In Mauritus as elsewhere the courts are routinely called upon to consider whether an un convicted suspect or defendant should be released on bail, subject to conditions pending his trial. Such decisions very often raise questions of importance both to the individual suspect or defendant and to the community as a whole. The interests of the...

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