A person convicted of a criminal offence was affixed with an electronic device on Wednesday, becoming the first to have the device in this country’s history.
This will allow the State to monitor the person’s whereabouts continuously and with immediate effect.
According to a release from the Ministry of National Security, the installation of the device was performed on Wednesday April 28, 2021 by the Ministry of National Security’s Electronic Monitoring Unit, following an order of the High Court on April 23, 2021 via which the offender was granted bail, on a condition of compliance with the parameters of the Electronic Monitoring Programme.
The offender will be placed on Home Detention for a period of a year and will be required to wear the electronic monitoring ankle device twenty-four (24) hours a day for the duration of the period. Failure of the person to comply with any of the terms of the order will result in the revocation of bail and immediate withdrawal from the Electronic Monitoring Programme.
The Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) Act was assented to on July 03, 2012. Amendments to this Act were subsequently made through the Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) (Amendment) Act, No. 11 of 2020 to make provision for the implementation of an electronic monitoring system in Trinidad and Tobago and the use of electronic monitoring devices as part of the criminal justice system. The legislation allows the Court to impose a sentence of electronic monitoring for an offence committed; in lieu of a sentence of imprisonment or part of any sentence imposed. The Court may also impose electronic monitoring as a condition of bail or a Protection Order made under Section 5 of the Domestic Violence Act. Both pieces of legislation were proclaimed by the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on September 18, 2020.
The Act provides for a fine of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) and six (6) months imprisonment for contravention of the Electronic Monitoring Regulations. The Act also makes provision for a fine of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) and two (2) years imprisonment for tampering with or removal of an electronic monitoring device. Further, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is empowered, under the Act, to immediately arrest any person who fails to comply with any agreement or condition related to the programme.
Electronic Monitoring is one of the major initiatives being implemented by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to transform and modernize the criminal justice landscape in this country. The Electronic Monitoring System is intended to contribute to the overhaul of the Penal System in Trinidad and Tobago by introducing a new sentencing option to the court as an alternative to incarceration, with a view to reducing prison overcrowding and introducing a more effective offender management system.