Senators back move that assists cross-border investigations
Attorney General Kim Wilson has been given an enhanced role in working with other countries to help fight international crime, thanks to a bill passed by the Senate.
The Criminal Justice (International Cooperation) (Bermuda) Amendment Act will help her chambers deal with requests from other nations for information under treaties and agreements.
Senator Wilson explained that the powers will be particularly helpful when it comes to a treaty with the US, which has been in place since January 2009.
It used to be that her chambers only had processes and procedures in place for dealing with written requests for assistance from other countries.
Now, requests based on previously-established treaties between Bermuda and the country can also be accommodated, without the necessity for a written request. The bill was supported by both Opposition and Independent Senators.
Government Senator Jonathan Smith, who used to be Commissioner of Police, explained that local detectives take part in highly sophisticated international crime fighting work very much under the radar. While members of the public may not always see the outcome, he described the work as critical.
Sen Smith said of the new legislation: This is about how to obtain and use overseas information in criminal investigations.
He explained that at present, obstacles can be encountered when trying to obtain information about foreign companies, for example during money laundering investigations.
Now, he said, this new legislation will assist investigators probing cross-border activity, which can include the activity of organised criminals such as gang members.
It is a very important act. It is dry and mundane and very much under the radar but I am glad we are working with an Attorney General who sees the benefit of having these amendments come before us, he said.
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