Guyana to end Preliminary Inquires at Magistrate’s Courts and enact new Domestic Violence laws with harsher penalties in 2023.

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With an unprecedented 25 bills approved by the National Assembly for 2022, the Government hopes to adopt a number of new laws in 2023 that will both abolish Preliminary Inquiries (PIs) in Magistrate’s Courts and toughen domestic abuse sanctions. .

The termination of preliminary inquiries, according to Attorney General Anil Nandlall, will help shorten the time people accused of capital offenses spend in custody while awaiting trials in the High Court.

“So, you go straight from the Magistrate’s Court to the Judge and Jury in the High Court for your trials. It makes no sense having you wait three, four years in the Magistrate’s Court and on remand in the prison,” he explained. 

The Attorney General advanced that preliminary Inquiries are out-of-date, and Guyana’s decision to abolish them is consistent with what nearly every nation in the Caribbean has done.

More severe penalties are planned for acts related to domestic abuse under a modern Family Violence Bill that is scheduled to be introduced in the National Assembly next year.

“So, the Family Violence Bill is a merger of civil and criminal law – a departure from the Domestic Violence law and an improvement. That is the deficiency of the Domestic Violence Act, it lacks penal sanctions,” he added.

Attorney General, Anil Nandlall

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