23 March, 2008

Amplified Sound

Noise in Sandy Ground. A few weeks ago there was confusion in Sandy Ground. The police were closing down the entertainment spots. That was the rumour. There were some meddlesome visitors who had complained to the police about the music. So it was being said. The police had, in lightning fast style, moved to visit all the entertainment spots and to tell them they were not permitted to play amplified sound without a permit from the Commissioner of Police. That was what I heard. I carried out an investigation. This is what I learned.

Sandy Ground is a village with several hundred residents trying to get a good night’s sleep. There are also several business places that provide entertainment for the late-night crowd. Some of them play amplified music until three or four in the morning. Not all of the entertainment spots are enclosed. The noise level in Sandy Ground and echoing down to South Hill Village was intolerable. The hours of duration were unreasonable.

About forty residents got together and wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police. The vast majority of petitioners were ordinary Sandy Ground residents. This is what the petition read, in its entirety:

“We, the undersigned, respectfully request that the authorities in Anguilla enact and enforce laws with regard to reasonable and specific levels of noise and reasonable and specific hours of operation in Sandy Ground to enable residents, businesses, and visitors to exist/function/live in harmony.”

From any reading, the petition asked for laws to be enacted. It asked that the laws be enforced. It asked that these laws set reasonable and specific levels of noise and reasonable and specific hours of operation for Sandy Ground. It asked that this be done so that residents, businesses, and visitors could exist and function and live in harmony. Not unreasonable requests, I hope you will agree!

The police Commissioner received the petition. He knew there was already a law on the books. It is called the Sound Amplification (Restriction) Act.

The entire Act is one and a half pages long. It consists of three sections. One imposes a fine of $2,000 for breaking the terms of a permit. The other two sections state,

Restriction on amplification of sound

1. Any person who, except under the authority and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a permit issued under section 2—

(a) operates, or causes or allows to be operated, any amplifier, loud speaker or any other device so as to amplify the sound made by the playing of any musical instrument or human voice or so as to amplify any other sound; or

(b) plays or operates, or causes or allows the playing or operation of, any record player, radio, television set, tape cassette player or other device designed or adapted for the transmission of sound;

from any premises in a manner which, by reason of the causing of noise, unreasonably disturbs or annoys any other person dwelling or working in neighbouring premises commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $2,000.

Commissioner’s power to issue permits

2. (1) The Commissioner of Police or any other police officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police authorised by the Commissioner of Police may, on application by any person, issue a permit, subject to such terms and conditions as he may think fit.

(2) Every application for a permit shall be in writing addressed to the Commissioner of Police within a reasonable period of time before the commencement of the amplification and transmission of sound and shall specify—

(a) the date of commencement of the amplification and transmission of sound;

(b) the place on which such amplification and transmission are to be carried out;

(c) the name and address of the person who is in charge of such place for the time being; and

(d) the duration of and the necessity for the permit.

(3) Every application for a permit concerning such a place shall be accompanied by a signed statement by the person in charge of the place for the time being giving his consent for the use of the place for such amplification and transmission.

At a first glance, the law appears to be of general application. It seems to prohibit any amplification of sound from any premises which “unreasonably disturbs any other person” without a permit. It does not appear to be a general licensing law. What does this law really say? It does not require every person to obtain a permit before amplified music is played. A permit is only required for you to play amplified sound that unreasonably disturbs or annoys another person. If you are not planning to be unreasonable, no permit is required. So, in my opinion, a permit is not required for playing amplified music in an enclosed space, when the music cannot be easily heard outside. It is only if the amplified noise that you are making is unreasonable that you need to get a permit.

The Act is a mere skeleton of a law. It contains no detailed regulations or specifications of any kind. Nor does it provide for regulations to be made.

It is child’s play to test the level of amplified sound. Decibel counters can be picked up in any electronic shop. If the House of Assembly had intended to restrict business places that provide entertainment by amplified music to a reasonable level of noise and to reasonable hours, it would have provided for detailed regulations to be made.

Section 2(2)(a) and (d) suggest something else. Note that they do not cover existing restaurants and bars that play music every day. You have to submit the date when you will commence the sound, the duration of the amplified sound, and the necessity for the permit. This suggests that the House of Assembly intended it as a police permit for occasions such as political meetings and other sporadic and one-off events. There is nothing in the Act that suggests it is meant to be a general licensing law regulating the playing of amplified music.

So, what did the Commissioner do when he received the petition? He did not call a meeting as requested. He did not ask for regulations to be made, as requested. He did not send down an officer to warn the business premises that there were complaints and that they were being unreasonable. He got tough. He decided to implement the law. On the Friday night he sent a police officer down to Sandy Ground just as the bands were starting up. The officer’s instructions were clear. He told each manager that if amplified music was played that night, or any other night, without a permit, the manager would be prosecuted. The bands were sent home. No music was heard in Sandy Ground for several days.

Over the next several days, the Commissioner held unsatisfactory and ill-tempered meetings with irate residents and even more irate night spot owners.

The politicians washed their hands of it and said it was a police matter.

Eventually, the businesses all applied for and obtained permits setting out the hours when amplified music could be played. An uneasy calm returned to Sandy Ground.

In my opinion, none of this is satisfactory.

What the residents asked for has still not been done. No rules have been laid down establishing “reasonable and specific levels of noise”. No rules have been laid down establishing reasonable and specific hours of operation in Sandy Ground”. It all lies in the hands of the Commissioner. He may well be a fair man, but who says he is an expert in what is reasonable when it comes to entertainment spots in Sandy Ground? Neither the residents nor the business places are happy with this situation.

Without regulations, the police will never know whether a complaint of unreasonable noise is justified. They have no authority to test for decibels. Certainly, they have no authority under this law to impose a permit for the playing of a reasonable level of amplified noise.

The conclusion must be that the law that is being enforced is inadequate to achieve what either the legislators or the administrators intend. The law is being implemented in a way that is outside the bounds. The government are inviting a suit for maladministration.

The moral of the story? If there is one it is this. You cannot run a country on inadequate, badly drafted laws. A rough skeleton of a law, which is clearly meant to work through detailed regulations should have the regulations made. A skeleton regulatory law, with no provision for detailed regulations to be made, cannot be made to work fairly on its own.

When you leave the discretion on how to make such a law work up to a single individual, you are inviting accusations of bad government, and worse.


  1. "...and now the country suffered from its laws, as it had hitherto suffered from its vices...”
    -- Tacitus, Annales III.26

  2. Mr. Mitchell; you know, like some of us do, that no law is complete or ends on any one documentation or piece of paper or text for that matter. As a matter of fact, with the effect of Human Rights Law and the implications of the judgments by the Court of Human Rights, and the emerging prominence of the European Court of justice - Parliamentary Supremacy is threatened at its very core. The distortion that perceived Public Law issues can lead to Private Law proceedings; that contract matters can be tortuous, and then there is nuisance… and the uncertainty, confusion or distortions, or the outright absurdity goes on.

    As you rightfully said previously, “That is why the law is an ass!”

    The principle of reasonableness, or the reasonable man is well established in law. Where the interference causes sensible personal discomfort, the court will apply a reasonableness test to determine whether it amounts to a nuisance.

    Bear in mind that statutory nuisances can be enforced by government authorities only, through serving an abatement order on the offender. Noncompliance will result in you been prosecuted by the specific government authority. If the ‘authority’ does not consider that a statutory nuisance exists, you could consider taking private action through the courts system.

    You said: “It prohibits any amplification of sound from any premises which “unreasonably disturbs any other person” without a permit.”

    This is a commonsense approach to reasonableness. As government is in the business to promote entrepreneurship, it also has an obligation to protect public health, safety and the environment on a whole. In the real world, nuisance business activities contributed the largest significant portion of revenue activity to most economies. However, business hours are well established and there are those business operations e.g., which provide entertainment where operation must be limited or restricted.

    The question is, what will a reasonable man considered, beyond hours of a normal workday, to be tolerable or bearable hours of amplified sounds. What times ‘normally or established’ do you considered to be time for rest?

    If we literately take this Act naively, most commercial activity would ceased to be meaningful e.g. planes wouldn’t fly; boats wouldn’t operate; lorries, trucks and other heavy equipment would ceased operation; the country would be in a peril state - as of consequence - the economy perish.

    You ask: “What does this law really say?”

    Indeed everyone or business is not required to obtain a permit before amplified music is played e.g. buildings which meets the sound-proofing criteria (Red Dragon’s Disco), to a certain extent – house-parties, picnicking on beaches, amplified sounds from bars in specific locations (Shoal Bay or Sandy Ground), sound systems in vehicles etc. However, these activities may become unlawful the moment that amplified sound becomes an interference with a person’s use or rightful enjoyment of his/her property. It’s there where the flexibility in the law becomes an advantage for the authority, omitting the strict liability approach.

    Here after, the authority may permit regulated or a controlled nuisance/activity, in an effort to balance both interested parties. All nuisances do not need a scientific analysis to be qualifying e.g., smoke, dust, steam, fumes and gases, animals etc. neither does it needs a bias approach or assessment.

    In my findings, based on your submission, I fully concurred with the Commissioner of Police for acting within the law and the government for not intervening in what was rightfully a police matter. To do otherwise would have reflected less than good governance.

    This is surely not the time to be playing devil’s advocate on Anguilla. If we are to live in a perfect union, to be envied by the rest, we must first eradicate envy from within, cognizant of our abilities, harvesting our best, maturing towards excellence while recognizing that unity is the only way forward.

    Anguilla’s electorate is and has always been tribal. This polarization is synonymous among a disenfranchised electorate. Using our intellectual astuteness to embarrass a people or its government is not only meaningless, but questions your integrity and intentions of approach - an energy which is much needed to the nurturing of good governance.

    To say that you have been refused is to contradict government’s ethics or none thereof, or the well-established dishonesty principle in politics. Bashing the inadequacies, inefficiencies or deficiencies of this government rather then promoting technocracy to a way forward is surely ineffective and immature in 2008.

    The truth is that there is room and need for modern legislation and correctness. The fact is that the legal fraternity on Anguilla, like the church, has disgraced golden opportunities in this very area through the lack of guidance or downright disrespect for good laws in this country, and that includes you Mitch. Now the blame game and the hiding of hands are in full swing – all have sinned and fall short.

  3. Hello Realist,

    The problem with the easy-going, amoral-accepting approach to bad laws and loose administration that you appear to be recommending is that such an approach does not achieve or maintain the highest standards of governance that we all expect.

    What should consume us with worry at this time is the way that we in Anguilla go along with giving our leaders a discretion to do as they think fit. We assume that they will always act in our best interests. We do not recognise that they are just normal people. Most of them, anyway. They are politicians, not statesmen with an interest in nation-building. They will generally choose the easy way out of a problem. They will pick the solution that gives them some advantage. Be it access to an available woman, an envelope of money, or a chance to demonstrate power over others. In their sly abuse of power they show the instincts of the fox let loose in the hen house.

    What most people want is to see government of laws, not of men. We want to see that rules are administered without fear or favouritism. That when a decision is taken, it can be demonstrated to be in accordance with principles that provide an equal playing field for all Anguillians. This can best be achieved by ensuring that our rules, regulations and laws are clear and enforceable, and that there is no room for nepotism and corruption.

    When we rely on a wink and a nod, as you seem to me to be suggesting, we expose ourselves to victimization and exploitation by those who are supposedly in charge of our destiny but who are, in fact, going to take the way out that is to their advantage.

    None of this is acceptable to the average Anguillian.

    I hope I have not misunderstood you.


  4. The idiom fits, especially in a small society like Anguilla – am I my brother’s keeper…or who is looking out for whom.

    In the United States, United Kingdom and most democracies around the world, before legislation is passed, their legal fraternities publicly debates the constitutionality of that piece of legislation. In Anguilla they know, or did know, its unconstitutionality – but fails to direct, as the light at the end of the tunnel fits their selfish financial gains.

    Though shy, sly or reserved (realizing the character assassination adjectives omitted), Mr. Alex Richardson must be applauded for being the only Attorney on Anguilla who has the pride in the development of its people’s education and/or understanding in basic laws, by his altruistic contributions in the Anguillian News Papers. Others believed that been the cushy chairman on a board of directors equates such valuable contribute to the development and growth of a people – but that’s all egotistical and seldom trickles down or lacks that domino effect required for nation building.

    Let us not under estimate the critical responsibility and valuable importance of the legal fraternity. Its scrutinizing powers are pivotal to the growth and advancement of democracy and good governance. For it to ignore harmful legislation or bad law, is to contribute to the failures of a society. And Mitch, as I always said, Herbert (decease), Lake, Benjamin and yourself, are joint ‘culprits’.

    Your Bill O’Reilly factor spin is entertaining, but doesn’t address nor square real issues. To say that I am recommending an ‘amoral-accepting’ approach - discrediting my moral principles, is misleading on your legal-positivist approach over the years on moral issues which contributed to our disarray.

    To say that you are dissatisfied with government leaders doing as they see fit is to contradict your legal astuteness on mal-administration and judicial review issues. Governments should legislate; government’s authorities should enforce legislation. Where their responsibilities breach’s, then there is a case for Judicial Review for mal-administration. However, show me an honest politician, any where in this world, and I will show you Fleming’s resignation letter to the people of Anguilla. Politics is a necessary evil – its corruption within itself - there are none clean. Well… only until you get into.

    This is why I am soliciting your help in unraveling where you may have inadvertently contributed - to put country above self and help correct your apparent corruption. Stop the hate bashing and promote technocracy to a way forward, and understand that the electorate doesn’t vote for intelligence nor capability, but rather liability or electability, the characters for which you may not fit.

    In a greed driven deceitful society like Anguilla, the court is the only hope… I hope!

    A flock with to many shepherds will short live, and soon kill each other.

    I hope you understand.

  5. Please change words in the seventh paragraph: liability to likeability

  6. The problem is inert in a people that are blinded and overwhelm with all the elements that trapped us hundreds of years ago, and blamed others. We are cursed by hard work, dreams and aspirations of our forefathers’ legacies. And yet, we are still the best-kept secret in the world – tranquility wrapped in blue where feeling is believing and definitely crime free.

    We snubbed constitutional reviews, we disowned our kids as nationals, disrespect our leaders, fear God nor man, disrespect law and order, overwhelm by greed, covetous, deceitful, and the list goes on – all in a Puree… but we are happy they say.

    The secrets stories are told that, Mr. Ronald Webster was a dictator; Sir Emile Gumbs was a Puppet; Mr. Hubert Hughes was/is racist, and Mr. Bunton Fleming… well… all three, plus a true Capitalist…well… tell no one else.

    As the world turns in new directions all in one accord… one globe; we sit idle by, comforted in our lil nutshell. Still believing that no one will know, as we are still… the best-kept secret in the world.

  7. "Whilst it is not so easy to determine what is best to be done.....Only virture remains unplumbed in the policy of today. That such a one should gain luster from the perfidy of others speaks to a failure of memory, and a dept of treachery, that are only now beginning to be revealed...."
    ---An Apotheosis

    There is a need for a Law Commission.If Mr.Mitchell voice his concerns to the relevant persons, including the Attorney General, they will listen both to the message and to the messenger.


    A good starting point will be a Law Commission. Though not having the resources and numbers like larger states, we are already equip with the legal expertise required. Our Law commission will be a full-time advisory body on the subject of law reform on Anguilla. Keeping all the Laws under review and recommending reform when it is needed to Parliament (House of Assembly).

    Parliament will create laws and enable reforms to occur. The Law Commission will have no power to reform laws, but render their legal expertise merely in recommending reforms to be consolidate, codify, modernise, simplify and improve the laws with the help of experts and research on the subject(s) at hand; something which parliament would not have the time nor the expertise to do. This will be the process by which the law will be kept up to date and injustices removed. These reforms are then either passed by Parliament to reform the law(s) or denied and sent back to the Law Commission for further reviewing.


    The Law Commission's recommendations will be the subject of extensive consultation before they are included in a final report. The Law Commission will start a law reform project by investigating the law and the deficiencies therein. This will involve informal pre-consultation with Government departments and users of the law in question. Then the Commission will issue a consultation paper summarizing the present law, its defects, the relevant law of other jurisdictions, some options for reform and the Commission's own provisional recommendations. This will then be published by The Government’s Official Gazette and The Anguillian News Papers. Copies are sent to representatives of users and other persons thought likely to be interested to respond (including the judiciary, practicing lawyers, government departmental heads, permanent secretaries, other Government bodies and professional organizations (NGO’s)). The responses to the consultation will then be analyzed and a final report published, accompanied by a draft bill prepared by the Parliamentary Counsel (Legal draftsman) attached to the Commission.


    The High Court judge, The Hon Attorney General, The Hon. Deputy Governor, the government’s legal draftsman, the president of the Anguilla’s Legal Bar Association and a representative at large (preferably a non-practicing lawyer and a past member of the legal bar association e.g. Mr. Ian Mitchell, Ms. Lolitta Davis-Ifil, Dame Bernice Lake or Mr. Homer Richardson). Under no circumstances should any one on the commission be a practicing lawyer save the bar’s president.

    I hope this shone some light at the tunnel’s end, a way forward.

  9. Mr. Mitchell, thank you for allowing "Realist" enough rope to embarrass himself.

    "Realist," an expert on what we should do and how we should do it, drones on and on, showing off his vocabulary, but knows little about the real Anguilla, where we've had a fully funded and operating Law Revision Centre since last year, as even he would know if he bothered to read even the online edition of our fawning newspaper:

  10. Realist:

    You typed nearly 1,900 words, but should have stuck to the main issue. Let me try with about 300 words.

    Badly written laws -- no matter how well intended -- serve no useful purpose.

    Poorly written laws don't work; they can't be properly enforced. They can't work unless they are written in such a way as to be precisely clear when describing actions, things and penalties.

    Laws can't be vague and they can't give people (especially Government!) wiggle room. Because if they do, there is no redress. How can citizens or the government contest a bad law in court if the law is vague?

    Worse, bad (or no) laws allow for abuse and corruption. At the least they can provide for comedies of errors.

    Mitch used the noise nuisance law as an example to show this. On the face of it, this law sounds (pun intended) like it is trying to do a good thing, which is to prevent people's sounds from unreasonably bothering other people.

    But it's so flawed as to be ineffective. It should have been more detailed as to what “unreasonable” is -- and when. Things like noise levels and hours of operation can be quantified.

    But when local citizens blew up because of noise continuing through most of the night, this poor law was about all there was, and it was used to justify a draconian government response.

    It may or may not have fixed this particular problem, but the law is still not fleshed out enough to be effective in the future. It needs to be replaced with a law that is clear and that works.

    And so it should be with all other poorly written laws. The laws in this nation have to grow up and join the twenty-first century.

    That will take concrete action, not words.

  11. Anonymous said...

    “Mr. Mitchell, thank you for allowing "Realist" enough rope to embarrass himself”.

    …”where we've had a fully funded and operating Law Revision Centre since last year”…

    Firstly, let me assured you that under no circumstance could I be embarrassed by any surrogate of or the retired judge on any real issues, specifically Anguilla’s issues. I was born, raised, schooled, worked for governments and knows every significant character worth knowing on that blue tranquillity – including Mr. Ian Donaldson Mitchell CBE QC. I know Anguilla from A to Z.

    My disgust, like most Anguillians, is the innuendoes, absurdity and/or distortions both on legal and moral issues disseminated via this blog mastered by our very own retired judge. Not to mention his refusal to post various counter responses contradicting his diatribe - in his effort to embarrass a nation, its democratic institutions, its people and values, and its government while spreading fear in potential and/or future investors and visitors alike.

    It is my desire, and I hope most reasonable patriotic Anguillian alike, and legal scholars, to post facts which contradict such preposterousness and/or distortions via that blog (Corruption Free Anguilla), and if refused, like most previously were, try doing so via Anguillatalk Blog.

    This behaviour begs noting less then to revisit the retired judge’s past judgments on various matters as an Eastern Caribbean High Court Judge.

    Secondly, on the subject of a ‘Government Law Commission’ versus a ‘Regional Law Revision Center - the terms alone speaks volumes.

    A Government Law Commission must be legislated, bestowing such powers to be effective e.g. in the UK – the Law Commission Act of 1965 and in St. Lucia the Laws of Saint Lucia (Reform and Revision) Ordinance, (No. 21 of 1954). A Law Commission will be financed by an appointed by the Government of Anguilla. It will aid in government making sound legislation, both by revisiting past legislation and recommending future legislation. It will render their legal expertise merely in recommending reforms to be consolidate, codify, modernize, simplify and improve the laws with the help of experts and research on the subject(s) at hand e.g. laws prohibiting hate rants on Anguilla via blogging as a crime; like a Felony in the United States. Or can it be considered as a terrorist threat under some future antiterrorism laws. The resources of such a law revision center will be much useful to such a commission works.

    A Regional Law Revision Center… is what it is… a revision center. It is liken the Library of Congress or a good library or resource center on laws. With the accretion of amendments over the years to the existing Acts and Subsidiary Legislation, the laws have become inaccessible since they have to be assimilated and read in the light of the amendments made thereto. With a law revision center in a free and democratic society, the laws will/should be made readily accessible if they are to properly serve the needs of Parliament (members of the House of Assembly), the Court, Judicial and Legal Officers in the Service (including Police and Customs), the Legal Profession and the general public, in a more efficient manner than the assented copies of the written laws contained in Annual Volumes.

    I hope the surrogates are informed.

  12. The only one of Realist's accusations that I will respond to is the one that is most offensive to me. It is that I have refused to post one or more of his contributions. To my knowledge, that has never happened.

    I sometimes refuse to post a comment, and delete it immediately. When that happens, it is because it is both extremely offensive to another commentator and is not relevant to the topic. Attacks on me are accepted. But, this is not the place for contributors to engage in attacks on each other. This is a place to make a comment on the subject matter of the blog: the need to make Anguilla corruption-free. An attack on me falls fairly in that area.


  13. And Anonymous, all the words on this issue can be summarized this way.

    Look… Mitch is a well learnt individual. He knows the laws. Mitch knows Parliament’s ‘mischief’ behind this Act. He knows that the authorities had no other weapon to deal with nuisance sound - immediately and effectively. He knows that under tort of nuisance that the authorities couldn’t self addressed this issue since it must have interest in property – interference with use and enjoyment. But he chooses to attack what we may call a vulnerable Act. I expected better from him, that’s why I am upset… on this one. Let’s debate a real Act… one after 2000.

  14. And Anonymous, all the words on this issue can be summarized this way

    Look… Mitch is a well learnt individual. He knows the laws. Mitch knows Parliament’s ‘mischief’ behind this Act. He knows that the authorities had no other weapon to deal with nuisance sound - immediately and effectively. He knows that under tort of nuisance that the authorities couldn’t self addressed this issue since it must have interest in property – interference with use and enjoyment. But he chooses to attack what we may call a vulnerable Act. I expected better from him, that’s why I am upset… on this one. Let’s debate a real Act… one after 2000.

  15. [Shortened quote:]

    "The question is, what will a reasonable man considered, ...to be tolerable or bearable hours of amplified sounds. What times ‘normally or established’ do you considered to be time for rest? "


    Exactly. That's why clarity and unambiguity needs to be in each law.

    This one particular law is just an example. The original posting is trying to say that half-written laws should be changed into well-written laws.

    This particular sound law is just an example, but the fact that it is generating such debate seems to prove the original point.

    So, OK. For me, living near these businesses, lowering the volume at 10 p.m would be "reasonable", not lowering it and blasting it until 4 a.m would not be. My neighbor may well have a differing opinion.

    Input from all concerned should be collected, and times and volume levels should be defined in the law. Then all are on the same page: the businesses can broadcast music at W decibels (as measured from X feet away) until Y o'clock, after which the volume must be lowered to Z decibels. Reasonable penalties should be defined.

    (I would think that shutting down an entire entertainment region for several days would be quite unreasonable, except as a last resort. A well written law would delineate that.)

    As you say, right now what is reasonable to one person may well not be to another.

    I just don't think that allowing "flexibility" in laws to give the "tribal" government more leeway is the best way to go.

    The days of trusting that government and people will just be reasonable has passed. And sometimes things have to be held to the light, embarrassing or not.

  16. Mitch is aware of the 'reasonable man principle' in legal terms. It's nothing new to him.

  17. In short, I recommended that you seek modern legal advice

  18. Somebody, plug Realist's butt before he drowns you all in manure.

    "give a man a platform....; give a fool a voice....;" that is why even Constitutional Freedoms have Limits; because of the "Realists" of this world.

  19. I am an attorney. I have no wish to get personally involved in this controversy. So, I’ll make this comment anonymously.

    Realist relies on ‘. . . the 'reasonable man principle' in legal terms . . .”

    A little learning is a dangerous thing. It has long been a principle of the criminal law that a penal statute must be specific. The Sound Amplification law is a penal law. It attempts to criminalize a human activity. For a prosecution to succeed, evidence of a wrongful act must conincide with evidence of a criminal intent. The exception is, if the law imposes strict liability. Then criminal conduct is punishable, even if there was no intention to break the law. This law attempts to create an offence of strict liability.

    In my humble opinion, the attempt fails. Causing noise that unreasonably disturbs a neighbour is not capable of proof beyond reasonable doubt. The law lacks the necessary specificity for an actual offence to be proved. No amount of unreasonableness can amount to a crime. There must be a specific and exact legal provision that is broken for a crime to occur. The police will not be able to succeed in a prosecution of anyone for an alleged breach of this law. Realist has read a newspaper article or two. But he is no lawyer.

  20. I wonder if Realist has looked at the Act? Check out the part banning loud music from vehicles. Section 4 makes an offence to hear transmitted sound from a vehicle at a distance of 50 feet. That is clear. That is exact. That is measurable. Any police officer with tape measure can find out if he has the evidence for prosecution.

    Realist is defending the part of the Act dealing with disturbing your neighbours. That part is not written in the same way. I agree that it is not clear how the offence is committed. Any entertainment business with a good lawyer should be able to get off.

  21. Hello surrogate attorney.

    You surely fit the egotistical cushy-chairmanship position description I alluded to earlier – the pen pusher.

    You said: “I am an attorney”… And?…………….

    And so is Mr. Mitchell CBE QC, and Mrs. Dame Bernice Lake DGCN, Q.C. and Constitutional Expert, with combined of over seventy (70) years in the legal profession and humble eloquent contributions to this forum.

    How unprofessional to suggest my level of qualification or academic attainment. This forum debates issues, not personalities.

    It is so not well learnt to suggest that all statutes will or must actually be clear. In the UK, where the Literal, Purposive or Mischief interpretation of a statute is not fully or clearly understood by the Court; its intention is sought by revisiting ‘Hansard’. In Anguilla, there is no such privileged as Hansard except that the average Parliamentarian is just a 5 min walk away. What ever you may concluded from that…

    I am more than certain and convinced that Parliament had no intentions when passed the Sound Amplification (Restriction) Act, to criminalized amplified sounds on Anguilla, but rather to simply give the authorities a controlling tool with a certain power of immediacy and effectiveness. Sound is a tort of nuisance and it’s highly impossible that Parliament intended to place any strict liability there forth.

    In times of simplicity let us not exemplify naivety.

    A little learning may be dangerous but no learning at all is suicidal. Your witch-hunt as to the newspapers I read, including the Anguillian, or the UK University LLB (HON) I may or may not hold or my advocacy ability continues.

    Good luck!

  22. To further clarify this issue and to bring an understanding and an end to this debate; let us imagine that Parliament passes an Act (law), prohibiting ‘vehicles’ from using a specified park.

    Our Court should recognize that Parliament’s intention was not to keep ‘baby-prams’ or ‘tricycles’ or ‘food-trolleys’ out of the parks; which are surely classed as vehicles.

    Let us be civilized here.

    Thank you.

  23. Doesn't that hypothetical parks law prove that poorly written laws don't work? Doesn't it buttress the argument that the amplified sound law was vague and flawed?

    Such a hypothetical law should never have passed in the first place.

    It's not unreasonable to define what a "vehicle" is (in the context of traveling in a park). Sure, the law may have correctly wanted to keep off-road motorcycles from racing around in the park, but if it could criminalize someone for pushing a baby-pram, it's time for new lawmakers.

    In this hypothetical case, if Parliamentarians couldn't even pass a simple law that would adequately define "vehicles" in a park, I would take their crayons away. Who would trust them for more important laws?

    At the least, such a vague law might lead to the wasteful expense of a court case if someone with a pram was cited.

    It might also result in a court decision that told Parliament to revise or repeal the law. (By the way, I would consider that to be a public shaming.)

    I will agree - this point has been debated to death. I've had enough.

  24. Anonymous said...

    “It's not unreasonable to define what a "vehicle" is (in the context of traveling in a park). Sure, the law may have correctly wanted to keep off-road motorcycles from racing around in the park, but if it could criminalize someone for pushing a baby-pram, it's time for new lawmakers”.

    My answer is no.

    Any judge, with that level of naivety and can not interpret the ‘mischief’ Parliament intended and criminalized a poor parent for strolling a Pram in a park, needs an immediate dismissal and all prior judgments made by that judge, revisited in the interest of justice. No wonder why there are so many ‘apparent’ Miscarriages of Justice.

    I do hope this now complete this debate.

  25. Has this noise-level problem been resolved? I hear extremely loud jungle- type sounds (surely not music!!!) into the wee hours of the morning (sounds like a broken record of base drums). Most annoying!


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