13 April, 2010

Locked up

Some more of the limits of our right to personal liberty:  In the last post, I began looking at our second fundamental right under our Constitution of Anguilla.  The fourth exception to this right to personal liberty occurs when we are locked up “in execution of the order of a court made in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation imposed on him by law.”  This is another example of a person being able to be imprisoned for failing to carry out an order of a court compelling the person to do something that some law required him to do.  So, if the Planning Department orders me to pull down a house I started without planning permission, and if I refuse or neglect to pull it down, the Planning Department can get a court order compelling me to pull it down.  If I fail to carry out the order of the court to pull down the house, the court can order me imprisoned until I have it pulled down.
A fifth exception to the constitutional right to personal liberty occurs where a person is seized for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court.  This happens when the court issues a bench warrant to the police to find a person and bring him before the court.  So, if I receive a Summons to appear in the Magistrate’s Court, and I go to work instead, I may find the police appearing at my work place with a bench warrant to pick me up and bring me to court.  I will not be allowed to complain if this happens.
The sixth exception is the familiar one which gives the police the power to arrest someone upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed or of being about to commit a criminal offence under the law of AnguillaNote that the power of arrest is not limited to police officers.  It says that a person can be deprived of his personal liberty, ie, arrested, upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed or of being about to commit a criminal offence under the law of Anguilla.  The question of wrongful arrest is a difficult, but interesting one.  I shall look at this problem in a little more detail in a separate programme.
The seventh exception applies to children who are adjudged to be so unmanageable that it is necessary to confine them for their education or welfare during the period that they are under eighteen years of age.  This can only be done with the consent of their parents or guardians.  This falls within the category of the parent, and the state acting in the place of the parent, making provision for the care and protection of the child.  It is not a form of punishment.
The eighth exception is for the purpose of preventing the spread of an infectious or contagious disease.   It is under this exception that quarantine laws can be justified.  If we are suspected of having contracted one of the listed dangerous and contagious infections, we can be ordered by the health authorities to be confined in a place of quarantine for the specified duration.
The ninth exception is the case of a person who is suspected to be of unsound mind, addicted to drugs or alcohol or a vagrant.  It exists for the purpose of his care and treatment and for the protection of the community.  It is this law that permits the Mental Health Act to provide for mental cases to be picked up and detained at a special ward at the Hospital while they are being observed and treated.
The tenth exception exists for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of a person into Anguilla, or for the purpose of effecting his expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal from Anguilla.  This section permits someone to be restricted while he or she is in Anguilla in the course of his extradition or removal from Anguilla.  So, if a visitor becomes a prohibited immigrant, he can be picked up and detained at the Police Station while they wait for a ferry to take him back to St Martin or wherever he came from.
The final exception mentioned in section 3 is in the case of a restriction that may be considered necessary in the execution of a lawful order requiring a person to remain within a specified area within Anguilla or prohibiting him from being within such an area or to such an extent as may be reasonably justifiable for the taking of proceedings against that person relating to the making of such order, or to such extent as may be reasonably justifiable for restraining that person during any visit that he is permitted to make to any part of Anguilla in which, in consequence of any other such order, his presence would otherwise be unlawful.  It is this exception that permits a judge or magistrate to order abusive spouses never again to be present within a certain radius of their victim, or risk going to gaol.  It would permit a foreigner to be allowed into Anguilla solely for the purpose of being conveyed to the Court to be dealt with there in relation to some offence with which he is charged.  
We're not yet finished. I have three more posts on this fundamental right.

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