The main purpose of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act No 7 of 2011 is to provide that an appeal against the decision of a magistrate shall not operate as an automatic stay of execution of the decision under appeal. The amendment specifically amends Section 112 of the principal act, which previously made provision for the execution of the decision under appeal from the inferior court to be suspended until determination or abandonment of the appeal once the appellant had given notice of and security for the appeal. The repealed Section 112 also provided that if the appellant was in custody, he or she must be released on the order of the magistrate unless he or she has elected to continue to undergo his or her sentence pending appeal.

Section 112 now provides that where any person has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against a decision of an inferior court, the appeal shall not by itself result in the suspension of the decision under appeal. However, the appellant may, within the time prescribed for filing the appeal, apply to the inferior court which made the decision under appeal for a stay of execution of any appealed judgment (whether criminal or civil), pending the determination of the appeal.

The amendment also provides that prior to the hearing of the application for stay, the inferior court shall give its reasons for the decision under appeal no more than seven days after the date of the application for the stay. Where the application for stay is refused or the inferior court fails to provide reasons within seven days, the appellant may apply to the Supreme Court for redress. In respect of criminal matters, where a person has been sentenced to imprisonment by the inferior court, he or she shall not be prejudiced in his or her right to apply for bail.

For further information on this topic please contact Christopher Coye at Courtenay Coye LLP by telephone (+1 345 814 2013), fax (+1 345 949 4901) or email ([email protected]).