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New Virgin Islands’ Law allows for video link court evidence

- Some in the legal fraternity said 'it’s nothing new!'
The Audio Visual Link Act 2017 was passed in the House of Assembly on Thursday December 14, 2017. Photo: Internet Source
The Audio Visual Link Bill was rushed through the House of Assembly (HoA) held at Ritter House on the main island of Tortola, giving the legislation its first, second and third readings in one Sitting. Photo: VINO/File
The Audio Visual Link Bill was rushed through the House of Assembly (HoA) held at Ritter House on the main island of Tortola, giving the legislation its first, second and third readings in one Sitting. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI-  The National Democratic Party (NDP) Government passed a law last Thursday December 14, 2017 in the House of Assembly (HoA) called the Audio Visual Link Act 2017.

While the law had support from both Government and Opposition, many in the legal fraternity told our newsroom “the law is simply to regularise a practice that has been going on for years in the court system here.”

Video links, which is about giving evidence via audio and phone links, has been practiced in the Virgin Islands (VI) jurisdiction for so many years, according to some three Attorneys.

They believed the law, which they support, is just to make it legal to avoid the practice being challenged. It has been the history of the NDP not to bring bills to the public for discussion, debate or input and the ability of House Members to explain the bills to the public during debates has been less than forthcoming.

Fast tracked without explanation again

The Bill was rushed through the HoA, giving the legislation its first, second and third readings in one Sitting, something that is usually left for emergency and national security legislations.

The Audio Visual Lick Act 2017 was passed with amendments and, as usual, those were not made public. The media is usually told when inquiries are made on Bills to “read the government Gazette to find the information, or wait until it's Gazetted."

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