Youth Guide Final Document Bermuda Centre for Justice
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Youth Guide Final Document Bermuda Centre for Justice



Youth Guide Final Document Bermuda Centre for Justice

Youth Guide Final Document Bermuda Centre for Justice



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Youth Guide Final Document Bermuda Centre for Justice Youth Guide Final Document Bermuda Centre for Justice Document Transcript

  • Know the Law: It’s Your Right A youth guide to rights and responsibilities A Centre for Justice Publication
  • Centre for Justice provides the information in this publication as an educational service to middle school students within Bermuda. While most of the information in this publication may deal with legal issues, none of such information constitutes legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional legal advice. Centre for Justice is not liable to any party for any damages arising in any way out of the availability, use, reliance on or inability to use this publication or for any claim attributable to errors, omissions or other inaccuracies in this publication. Centre for Justice has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. © Centre for Justice 2013 This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception, Centre for Justice has the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell or distribute copies of this publication. Reproduction in whole or in part without express written permission is prohibited.
  • Centre for Justice is a non-governmental, non-profit, non-partisan organization whose aim is to promote the rule of law, human rights and civil liberties in Bermuda in accordance with the Bermuda Constitution and the rights proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments such as the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Our mission at Centre for Justice is to: • promote and protect the rule of law, human rights and civil liberties; About Centre for Justice & Acknowledgements • foster interest in civic engagement through activities, such as the publication of this guide, which seek to safeguard human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law; • provide specialist legal advice where a miscarriage of justice may have taken place; and • where appropriate, intervene as a third party in court proceedings in cases involving human rights and civil liberties. Centre for Justice wishes to acknowledge those individuals and organizations who were instrumental in helping to see the realisation of this publication. • Bermuda Youth Law • Bermuda Police Service • Department of Child and Family Services • Various members of the Bermuda Civil Service and the Third Sector of Bermuda Illustrations by Juan Trevino & Natasha Rosdol. Know the Law – Acknowledgements ii A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Contents Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 1 Chapter 1: The Rule of Law............................................................................................... 2 Chapter 2: The Youth Justice System.............................................................................. 6 Chapter 3: Criminal Offences..........................................................................................11 Chapter 4: Weapons and Guns.......................................................................................18 Chapter 5: Alcohol and Drugs.........................................................................................19 Chapter 6: Guardian-Child Relations.............................................................................22 Chapter 7: School...............................................................................................................24 Chapter 8: Transportation ...............................................................................................28 Chapter 9: Work................................................................................................................32 Chapter 10: Technology ...................................................................................................33 Chapter 11: Recreation.....................................................................................................35 Where to get help? ............................................................................................................37 Glossary ................................................................................................................................38 Know the Law – Contents iii A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Know the Law - Introduction 1 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Introduction What rights do I have? What are my obligations at school? What do I do when I talk to the police? What happens when I go to court? As part of its mission, Centre for Justice has produced Know the Law: It’s Your Right to teach young people about their rights and responsibilities under the law. The guide is particularly designed for middle school age young people and includes a classroom-based component designed to complement the material in the guide. Our youth, whose civil liberties must also be promoted and protected, deserve the opportunity to learn basic laws and understand their rights and responsibilities. Know the Law: It’s Your Right aims to educate and support our youth and fill the knowledge gap that sometimes keeps this vital information out of reach. Through discussions with various stakeholders across the Island, including middle school students, educators, child welfare professionals, law enforcement professionals and community leaders, it was widely agreed that the majority of young people get their information about the law from their friends, family members or television programming. In addition, there is also evidence to suggest that much of the information gained related to laws outside of Bermuda, specifically the United States of America. These findings suggested the need for materials that focused on providing young people with information about the laws, human rights and civil liberties that make up citizenship in Bermuda. We do not try to explain every law in Bermuda, nor do we explain the full range of rights or responsibilities afforded to young people. Instead, this guide provides an overview of the legal landscape and aims to encourage readers to consider the consequences of their actions, the choices and alternatives available to them and the impact of those choices on themselves and others. With this in mind, this we believe that an awareness of the laws that govern Bermuda is a means of empowering young people, as well as protecting them. Making this information accessible to young people enables them to take positive action and make well-informed decisions. Knowledge of the law and rights increases a young person’s level of responsibility. It also minimizes negative influences and potential victimization often carried out by people who take advantage of the vulnerability of the uninformed. We begin with a brief overview of human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. It goes on to outline the three branches of government and their functions. The publication details Bermuda’s court systems then addresses the role of judges and lawyers, focusing on the youth justice system. Based on feedback from surveyed stakeholders, specific criminal offences are highlighted with special attention given to bullying, crimes against property, auxiliary cycle laws and crimes against other persons. Included in this guide is a discussion of the importance of healthy and legal choices for young people, addressing issues of sexual consent, considering road safety and the avoidance of unlawful drugs. Knowledge of the types of conduct and behaviours that can result in legal action is an important first step toward fostering accountability in young people. Know the Law: It’s Your Right is a tool that will help young people avoid harmful behaviours that could negatively impact the community, as well as have long term consequences for the individual themselves. This guide will promote the importance of a clear understanding of everyone’s rights and responsibilities.
  • Know the Law – The Rule of Law 2 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities What is ‘the Rule of Law’ It is the principle that the law must be clear and everyone must have access to it. Everyone must submit to, obey and be regulated by law, and not arbitrary action by an individual or a group of individuals. No one is above the law. Not the Queen, not the Governor, not the Premier, not anyone. The rule of law is what protects your rights. You have the responsibility to obey the law. Where does the law come from? Bermuda’s laws come from multiple sources. The Bermuda Constitution 1968 sets out the structure of our government and provides certain protections to the people of Bermuda. It is the supreme law in Bermuda; no other laws can contradict the Constitution. Acts of Parliament are passed by the House of Assembly and the Senate, and signed by the Governor. Judge-made law, or the common law, derive from centuries of precedents and statutory interpretation by judges. What is protected under the Constitution of Bermuda? The Constitution protects YOUR fundamental rights and freedoms such as free speech and freedom of religion. You also have the right to be free from discrimination. Fundamental rights are recognized by the United Nations as inalienable which means that they cannot be taken away from you. What is discrimination? Chapter 1: The rule of law Discrimination is treating someone differently from others because of a characteristic like age, sex and race. The law says that it is wrong to discriminate against someone on these grounds. It should not matter what your sex, race, marital status, religion or sexual orientation is. Under the Constitution, the government cannot discriminate on certain grounds, and the Legislature cannot pass certain laws which are discriminatory. In addition, the Human Rights Act 1981 prohibits everyone from discriminating against anyone in Bermuda on grounds such as sex, race, marital status, religion or sexual orientation in employment, housing and public/private services such as banking and restaurants.
  • Government What are the three branches of government that the Constitution lays out? • The Legislature • The Executive • The Judiciary What do the branches of government do? The Legislature Who: The Senate and House of Assembly and the Queen (represented by the Governor). What: It writes laws and sends them to the Governor for approval on behalf of Her Majesty, the Queen. The Executive Who: The Governor, acting on behalf of Her Majesty, the Queen. The Premier and his Cabinet Ministers (also known as the Government, with a capital ‘G’). What: It runs the affairs of the country and implements Acts of the Legislature. The Judiciary Who: Magistrates’ Court; Family Court; Supreme Court; and Court of Appeal. What: It interprets questions about the laws and makes sure those laws do not violate our Constitution and ensures that the Government applies the laws in a fair and just manner. Why do we have three branches? The different branches of government perform different roles and provide checks and balances for each other. They hold each other accountable. The power to legislate, the power to implement the law, the power to run the country and the power to interpret the law and call people to account for the legality of their actions should not be held by the same people or the same body. Without separation of power, one person or body, would hold too much power in their hands. This could lead to its abuse. When power is concentrated in fewer hands, this could lead to tyranny or to abuse of power. What are the main types of law? • Civil law • Criminal Law Civil law is about the way you interact with other individuals. For example, these laws tell you how to write contracts with other people, how to operate your business and whether you owe money because you wrecked someone else's car. Criminal law relates to behaviour and choices which are so wrong that they are against society as a whole. This law provides strict definitions about what behaviour is considered illegal, such as robbing a bank or stealing a car. Know the Law – The Rule of Law 3 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • The Courts Know the Law – The Rule of Law 4 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities How is Bermuda's court system structured? The Magistrates' Court decides on minor criminal offences, including traffic offences. It also deals with civil claims up to $25,000. The Magistrate studies the evidence and decides on a sentence without a jury. Family Court and Drug Treatment Court are special kinds of Magistrates’ Courts. The Magistrates are headed by a ‘Senior Magistrate’. The Supreme Court deals with all other civil matters and criminal trials not dealt with in Magistrates’ Court. The Supreme Court will also hear appeals from the Magistrates’ Court. Most civil matters are decided by the judge alone; criminal trials will be heard by a judge and jury. The judges of the Supreme Court are called ‘Puisne Justices’ and are headed by the ‘Chief Justice’. Trivia: ‘Puisne’ is a Norman French word and is pronounced as ‘puny’. The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the Supreme Court. They make sure the lower courts do their job properly and apply the law consistently. They can change the decision of the Supreme Court or ask that a matter be reheard. The judges of the Court of Appeal are called ‘Justices of Appeal’ and are headed by the ‘President of the Court of Appeal’. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (or just ‘Privy Council’ for short) is the highest court for Bermuda. It sits in London and only considers appeals from the Court of Appeal when there is an important public question involved. Trivia: Technically, appeals to the Privy Council are appeals to Her Majesty, the Queen. In medieval times, regular people in England would ask for the King’s justice when they were not satisfied with the decisions of local officials. Over the years, the Kings would ask legally trained advisers for their advice. Eventually, the power was delegated to those advisers and this eventually became the Privy Council. So when you appeal to the Privy Council, you ask for the Queen’s justice, and she will only act on the advice of her Advisers (ie the judges of the Privy Council). What do you call judges in Bermuda’s courts? A Magistrate is addressed as “Your Worship” A judge in the Supreme Court is addressed as “My Lord” if male, and “My Lady” if female. What is a jury? A jury is a group of twelve randomly chosen individuals who are sworn to hear evidence in a Supreme Court trial and to give a verdict on a defendant’s guilt. All jury decisions must be unanimous unless the judge accepts a majority verdict of at least nine jurors. Who are defendants and plaintiffs? A defendant is someone who has either been accused of committing a crime (in a criminal court) or who is being sued by another party (in a civil court). A plaintiff is the party who brings an action (or lawsuit) against the defendant in a civil case. What is a witness? A witness is a person who testifies to what he or she has seen, heard or observed. In court, the witness is sworn to tell the truth and failure to do so may result in a charge of perjury. Refusal to appear in court may result in an arrest. If a witness has to give testimony in court, he or she would ordinarily be asked to swear on a holy book. If a witness prefers not to, he or she can instead give a solemn affirmation.
  • Know the Law – The Rule of Law 5 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities What is a barrister? A barrister (also known as an attorney) is an individual who has studied law and has been admitted to practice law in Bermuda. Who are the lawyers in a criminal trial? Crown counsels or prosecutors are lawyers who represent the Crown in criminal cases. Prosecutors present evidence and witnesses to prove that the defendant is guilty. Defence counsels are lawyers responsible for defending the accused in criminal court. Defence counsel present evidence by questioning witnesses to prove that the defendant did not commit the crime or that the prosecution did not prove guilt. REMEMBER! It is the responsibility of the prosecutor to prove guilt and not for the defendant to prove innocence. This is called the burden of proof. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt which is the criminal standard of proof. This means that the jury (or judge) must be sure that the defendant committed the crime alleged. This is a very important principle of our criminal justice system. Who is who in court? The Magistrates’ Court • The Magistrate sits on a raised bench facing the court room. • The lawyers’ table faces the Magistrates’ Bench. • The prosecutor sits to the left. • The defence counsel sits to the right. • The witness box is to the side of the judge, at the front of the court room. • The accused person sits in the dock. • The public sit behind the accused person. • Reporters, journalists and probation officers sit to one side of the Magistrate. The Supreme Court • The Judge sits on a raised bench facing the court room. • The court clerk sits directly in front of the Judge, facing the court room. • The lawyers’ table faces the Judge’s Bench. • The witness box is to the clerk’s left. • The accused dock is behind the lawyer’s table. • The jury sits on one side of the court room. • Reporters, journalists and probation officers sit to the opposite side of the court room from the jury.
  • Know the Law – Criminal Offences 6 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 2: Youth Justice System In Bermuda, as well as most parts of the world, young offenders are treated differently from adult offenders under the law. In earlier years, young offenders were put in jails with adults and suffered harsh penalties. Now instead of treating young offenders the same as adults, we have a separate Family Court which works to rehabilitate them. In Family Court, proceedings are closed to the public to protect the confidentiality of young offenders. No newspaper reports of any proceedings in Family court can reveal the name, address, school or any other identifying information of an offender or witness. NB. All references to maximum penalties and sentences throughout this publication relate to adult maximums and NOT to youths. What does 'young offender’ mean? If you are under eight (8) years old, the law says that you cannot commit a criminal offence. Between the age of eight (8) and fourteen (14), you cannot be guilty of a criminal offence unless it is proven in court that you understood the difference between right and wrong when you committed a crime. If you are accused of a crime after you turn fourteen (14), you are assumed to know the difference between right and wrong. If you are sixteen (16) or older and break the law, you will no longer attend Family Court and will have to go the adult courts. If I am accused of a crime, what rights do I have? Under section 6 of the Bermuda Constitution you have the following rights: • To be brought before a court in a speedy manner. • To have a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court. • To be presumed to be innocent until proven or pleading guilty. • To be informed of the nature of the charges against you and your rights. • To be given adequate time and facilities to prepare your defence. • To defence in court, including representation by a lawyer if you choose. • To examine and call witnesses. • To have a trial by jury, if the criminal case goes to Supreme Court. • To refuse to testify against yourself.
  • When would I have to go to court? If you are a victim or a witness of a crime, the police may need to speak with you to write down your story. If you are accused of a crime, a police officer may ask that you and your parents come to the police station to answer questions. Then you may be charged and required to go to Family Court. If you do not go to court when required, you can be arrested, and your parents can get in trouble. A police officer takes a young person into custody if the police officer believes that young person: • has committed an offence; • is physically dangerous; • is in need of medical or emergency care; or • has run away from home When would I need a lawyer? If you are charged with a crime, you will probably need a lawyer who is familiar with criminal law to defend you. You may also need a lawyer if you need legal advice or legal representation. What if I cannot afford a lawyer? Legal Aid is a government programme designed to help people who require legal advice and assistance but may not be able to afford to pay full price for it. In order to be approved, it must be proven that you and/or your guardian have limited finances and qualify for a Legal Aid Certificate. To receive a Legal Aid Certificate, a Legal Aid Officer will go over the finances of your household to find out if there is not enough income to cover your legal costs. As a young person (aged 15 and under), your parent or guardian can apply for Legal Aid. If you are aged 16 and over, you may apply directly for Legal Aid. You or your parent or guardian may telephone the Legal Aid Office at 297-7617 to schedule an appointment. Interaction with the Police What if the police stop me? If the police stop you, you do not have to say anything. But it is always a good idea to be courteous and respectful. If the police have reason to suspect that you may have committed a crime, they may arrest or detain you; otherwise you are free to go. It is best to ask the police officer “Am I free to go?” • If the answer is yes, then you are free to leave. • If the answer is no, then you are officially under arrest. Even if no one is holding you or you do not have hand cuffs placed on you, you can still technically be under arrest. Know the Law – Criminal Offences 7 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • You have the right to ask “Why are you detaining me?” In order to stop you, the police officer must have 'reasonable grounds for suspecting' your involvement in a specific crime, not just a stereotype or guess. A police officer cannot search your car or bike, house or clothing unless there is reasonable suspicion or a specific warrant. If I am arrested, what are my rights? • The right to be told that you are being arrested ie “You are under arrest”. • The right to know why you are being arrested. • The right to be cautioned by the police. • The right to remain silent. Do I have ‘the right to remain silent’, if I am arrested? Yes. Your right to remain silent is protected by the Bermuda Constitution. The police officer will remind you of this right by giving you a caution by saying: Know the Law – Criminal Offences 8 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities “You do not have to say anything if you do not wish to do so, but anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law.” Any time that the police question or interview you, they are required to remind you of these cautions. The police must give you your 'caution' before anything is said that can be used as evidence. Is resisting arrest illegal? Yes. Resisting an officer who is properly doing his/her job can lead to a fine of $2,880 or 6 months in prison or both (section 2(n) of the Summary Offences Act 1926). If I am taken into custody for a crime, what are my rights? • The right to know why you are being held. • The right to know the arresting officer's name, number and rank. • The right to a police caution before being arrested before being questioned, before being arrested and before being charged. In other words, you must be cautioned at each stage. • The right to remain silent. • The right to tell someone where you are. • The right to medical help if you are feeling ill. • The right to speak with a laywer in private. • The right to read the rules that the police must follow. • The right to receive a written notice about your rights. Are there any instances where the police can make me leave an area? Yes. Generally, you have the right to go wherever you want. Make sure you do not trespass on private property. If members of the public have been expressing concern about a specific area, and the police designate this space to be a place where antisocial behavior occurs, then the police may ask you to leave the area (section 110A of the Criminal Code). The police can also take you home if you are under seventeen and it is after 9pm. What if I have been acting up but have not been arrested or charged with a crime? An application can be made to a Magistrates’ Court for an anti-social behaviour order to be issued against you if you are 10 or older and if you have engaged in anti-social behaviour. Antisocial behaviour is when your behaviour is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons who do not live in your house.
  • The order can be in effect for up to 2 years. The order may direct:- • where you can reside; • what areas, places or events you cannot enter or attend; and • who you are able to contact or associate with. Young people and Family Court As a young person, you may find yourself in Family Court if you have been hurt or Government officials believe you are being hurt or will get hurt soon. For example, if someone in your family has been hitting you or treating you badly, then Family Court will find a way to protect and help you OR, if you commit an offence, you will be heard in the Family Court. Proceedings in Family Court are very informal as compared with adult courts. Members of the public or the media are not be allowed into hearings. The media is not allowed to report the names of young offenders or victims. In court, there is one legally trained magistrate and two regular members of the public. What happens if I go to Family Court as a young offender? If you go to Family Court, you, your parents or guardians, and your lawyer will have a chance to tell your side of what happened. You have the right to have witnesses brought to court on your behalf and the right to question those witnesses brought by the prosecutor. After listening to both sides, the Magistrates decide whether the charges against you were proved by the prosecutor. If the Magistrates find that the evidence was insufficient and the prosecutor was unsuccessful in proving the case against you, your case will be dismissed and you will be free to go. If the Magistrates find you guilty, they may request that the Department of Court Services prepare a pre- sentence report on you and your family with a recommendation regarding an appropriate punishment, level of risk and possible consequences for you. These reports can take up to six weeks to prepare. This gives you the opportunity to explain your situation and get specific help. The social worker may also recommend what sentence you should get. However, the court is not bound by the recommendation. Can I skip court if I do not feel like going on that day that it is scheduled? No. If you fail to turn up (without a good reason), a warrant will be issued for your arrest and you may be held in custody until the case is finished. Also, if your friends or your family have agreed to put up bail money as a guarantee that you will appear, the Court will order that money to be confiscated if you do not turn up in court. Know the Law – Criminal Offences 9 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Know the Law – Criminal Offences 10 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities What will happen to me if I am found guilty? The Family Court has several options. You can be: • placed on probation; • put into the care of the Director (meaning you will be placed in a foster home); • placed in residential treatment, at either Oleander Cottage or Brangman Home or overseas; • ordered to pay damages to the victim up to $240, costs for proceedings, and a fine of up to $168; or • detained in a senior training school to undergo corrective training. Children and young persons under the age of 18 cannot be sentenced to adult prison. What is probation? Being on probation means being released to your parent or guardian with certain conditions set by the Family Court. During your probationary period, you must follow what the Court has ordered and complete any special conditions of probation. Special conditions of probation may include:- • community work; • keeping a curfew; • making an apology; • going to school regularly; • drug testing; • restrictions on travel; • attending therapy; or • any other condition designed to prevent you from offending again. You will be assigned to a probation officer with whom you will have to meet regularly. The probation officer will make sure you are making progress through your probation programme and monitor everything. It will be the probation officer’s responsibility to let the Court know whether or not you are keeping to the conditions. How long is probation? The maximum probationary period for a young person is 3 years. The minimum probationary period is one year (section 18(2) of the Young Offenders Act 1950). The probationer (ie the young person sentenced to probation) or the probation officer can also apply to the Court to end the probationary order early if the probationer shows progress. The probationary order can also be lengthened if the probationer needs more attention from probation services. What is and where is Training School? If a young person is sentenced to undergo “corrective training”, they will be placed at the Senior Training School. Corrective training has a strong educational focus and is aimed at rehabilitating a young person before being released back into the community. The Senior Training School is currently housed at the Co-Educational Facility at Ferry Reach. It is often referred to as “Co-Ed”. The Eastern Block is reserved for women and girls while the Western Block is reserved for boys aged 16 and 17. This is also where a young person that is remanded into custody during the course of criminal proceedings will be held.
  • Know the Law – Criminal Offences 11 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 3: Criminal Offences A crime is an act that is harmful to another person as well as to the community. Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law including fines and imprisonment. As a young person, you should be familiar with these crimes and what behaviours are considered to be a crime under the laws of Bermuda. This helps you know what you should not do. It also helps you if you have been a victim of crime. What if I do not know that something I did is a crime? You are still guilty of the crime. Not knowing a law is no excuse for breaking the law (see section 35 of the Criminal Code). Rule of thumb: Ignorance is not a defence! Can I get in trouble if I help another person break a law? Yes. If you encourage, help or even become an accessory to an offence after it has been committed, you can still get in trouble. You are still criminally responsible for the same crime, even if you were not there at the time (section 481 of the Criminal Code). Crimes against the Person Can I hit one of my classmates if they get on my nerves? No. An assault is a physical attack or threat of a physical attack (section 233 of the Criminal Code). If you use unlawful force against someone (eg by pushing, hitting or punching) you commit an assault. If you threaten someone with immediate unlawful force (eg by holding a knife to someone), you also commit an assault (section 314 of the Criminal Code). If you assault someone and that person receives bodily harm (eg some scratches or a black eye), it is more serious and carries a heftier penalty (section 309 of the Criminal Code). Still more serious is when you assault someone and that person receives a wound or grievous bodily harm (eg skin is cut open or a bone is broken - section 306 of the Criminal Code). If you intended to wound or cause grievous bodily harm, the crime is more serious, therefore the punishment is more severe (section 305 of the Criminal Code). Assaults can also be sexual (see page 14). Rule of thumb: Keep your hands and feet to yourself!
  • Can bullying be a form of harassment? Yes. Harassment occurs when one person acts in a way towards another that is not welcomed by the other. There is no single offence of harassment in Bermuda, but there are different types of harassment which are offences. You cannot use threatening words or gestures or behave in a threatening way in a public place (Section 12 of the Summary Offences Act 1926). Racial harassment and intimidation involve committing a number of unwanted and unpleasant acts (such assaulting someone or sending harassing messages) with the intention of causing that person distress and where it is motivated by antipathy towards that other person’s race, colour or place origin, or perception thereof (Sections 200A and 200B of the Criminal Code). Improper use of a telephone service can also be an offence (section 53(1)(b) of the Telecommunications Act 1986), such as sending grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or harassing calls or messages. What is bullying? Bullying is when someone behaves in a way towards another person or group of people to upset or hurt them or damage their property, reputation or acceptance by others. It is a form of abuse, and it is wrong. Bullying can happen anywhere and anyone can be a bully, like a teacher or a student, even a family member or someone you’ve had a close relationship with. There are different types of bullying: • direct physical: this means the bully hurts your body, doing things like hitting, pinching or kicking you. It can also mean the bully steals or damages things that belong to you • direct verbal: this means the bully speaks to or about you in a mean and hurtful way, like teasing or calling you names or spreading rumours about you • indirect: this includes things that the bully does to upset, exclude or embarrass you, like leaving you out of a game on purpose, using rude body language, texting, emailing you unwanted messages or using chat rooms to upset you. Are there questions I can ask myself, to help me know if I am being a bully? Yes. Ask yourself: • Am I calling someone names or teasing them? • Am I pushing someone around? • Am I hitting, punching or biting? • Have I taken someone’s possessions from them without asking? • Have I been spreading lies or rumors about somebody? • Have I threatened somebody? • Have I purposely left someone out or ignored somebody? • Have I tried to get someone in trouble? • Have I tried to make someone look silly in front of others? • Have I posted mean messages online? Know the Law – Criminal Offences 12 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • If you answered yes to any of these questions then there is a strong chance that you are being a bully. Is there anything I can do if I am being bullied? Yes. Make a list of all the things that happened, when they happened, who was involved and who may have seen it. If you’re experiencing cyber bullying, save any messages you receive. If the bullying is happening at school, talk to a teacher or the school principal about what they can do. Be prepared to name the bully. Know the Law – Criminal Offences 13 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Rule of thumb: It is not big to make other feel small! What is a street gang? For the purposes of the law, an “unlawful gang” is defined as a group of 3 or more persons, who has as one of its purposes or activities, the facilitation or commission of one or more offences. Factors considered in deciding whether something is considered “unlawful gang activity” include: • Using a name, word, symbol or identifying representation associated with a gang; • Frequently associating with persons who constitute an unlawful gang; • Receiving any benefit from an unlawful gang; and • Frequently engaging in activities at the instruction of any of the persons who constitute an unlawful gang (section 30JA of the Criminal Code). Where an offence falls within the definition of unlawful gang activity, there are increased penalties, including additional terms of imprisonment and/ or increased fines up to $10,000. Rule of thumb: Be mindful of the company you keep! Sexual Crimes Every person, regardless of sex or gender, has total autonomy over his or her own body. No person has the right to touch you in a way that is inappropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable. If this should ever happen to you, you should report this to your parent, guardian, teacher or guidance counsellor. What is sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is when someone behaves in a sexual way that offends, humiliates or intimidates you. It can include things like: • telling dirty jokes; • staring and leering; • someone making comments about another person’s sexual behaviour; • offensive pictures, emails or text messages; • someone touching, pinching or brushing up against another person unnecessarily; or • someone kissing or hugging another person when he or she did not say yes to it.
  • In addition, the Human Rights Act 1981 prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are working, your employer cannot sexually harass you and must make sure that sexual harassment does not take place in the workplace. What is sexual assault? Any kind of assault (remember: force or threat of force without consent) of a sexual nature is unlawful. This includes forced sexual intercourse with someone (also known as ‘rape’) and unwanted sexual touching (section 323 of the Criminal Code). If you have a sexual disease, such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B and have sex with someone without telling that person you have the disease, that is also a sexual assault (section 324 of the Criminal Code). A serious sexual assault is one where a weapon is used, harm is caused, or threats of harm are involved (section 325 of the Criminal Code). An aggravated sexual assault is one where the victim is wounded, maimed, or disfigured, or the victim’s life is endangered (section 326 of the Criminal Code). Sexual assault is a serious offence; the more serious versions can get life in prison. What is indecent exposure? Indecent exposure is exposing private parts or doing some sexual act in public. Doing so wilfully or without lawful excuse is an offence (section 197 of the Criminal Code). It is also against the law for someone to do a sexual act in front of children under 14 (section 198 of the Criminal Code). How can someone consent to sexual activity? Everyone over 16 who is involved in sexual activity must consent to it. If there is no consent, then the accused commits a sexual assault (section 233 of the Criminal Code governs consent generally). Consent must be expressed by actions or words. There is no consent if the victim allows the assault when threatened, is defrauded into giving consent, or is unable to consent. A person, who is engaging in any kind of sexual activity by consent, can stop consenting midway through, either by words or conduct. If you are having sex with a partner who withdraws consent and you continue to try to have sex, you commit a sexual assault. Just because someone is drunk, does not mean that person wants to have sex. That person MUST be capable of consenting. People under a certain age cannot consent to sexual activity under law. Know the Law – Criminal Offences 14 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • What if I don’t want to have sex? If you do not agree and someone threatens you or touches you sexually, that person is breaking the law. If someone has sex with you or touches you sexually when you are asleep, unconscious or so affected by alcohol or drugs that you are unable to agree, that is still sexual assault. At what age can someone consent to have sex in Bermuda? Girls must reach 16 before they can consent to have sex. Boys must reach 16 before they can consent to have sex with a female; they must reach 18 before they can have sex with a male. What is unlawful Carnal Knowledge? Carnal knowledge is the act of sexual penetration. It is against the law to have carnal knowledge with a young girl no matter if she consents. You may have heard this referred to as ‘statutory rape’ on TV. Unlawful carnal knowledge of girl who is under 14 (section 180 of the Criminal Code) Any person who sexually penetrates a girl under 14 is guilty of an offence and can face 25 years in prison. Any person who attempts to sexually penetrate a girl under 14 is guilty of an offence and can face 15 years in prison. Unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl who is 14 or 15 (Section 181 of the Criminal Code 1907) Any person who has, or attempts to have, unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl who is 14 or 15 is guilty of an offence and can face up to 20 years in prison. If the defendant charged with this offence is under 18 at the time he had sex, he will not get in trouble if he reasonably believed that the girl was at least 16. However, he can only say this to the court once. What other sexual offences are there? Sexually exploiting a young person under 14 is also a criminal offence. This includes any sexual act just short of penetration. No one can sexually touch, directly or indirectly, with or without an object, or invite the touch of any person who is under 14 years of age. Anyone who is found guilty can face up to 20 years in prison (section 182A of the Criminal Code). Someone who is under the age of 14 can be charged with sexual exploitation if he or she has a position of trust or authority over the victim and the victim is dependent on him or her (section 190(2) ). It is a separate and more serious offence for someone in a position of trust or authority towards a young person under 14 to sexually exploit him or her. This can include parents, teachers, counselors or pastors. Anyone who is found guilty can face up to 25 years in prison (section 182B of the Criminal Code). Any kind of sexual activity between two male persons is unlawful if either male is under the age of 18 (sections 177 and 179 of the Criminal Code). Know the Law – Criminal Offences 15 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • What if someone tries to show me sexual material? Any person who knowingly shows to a child under 16 child pornography, offensive material or any material which shows cruel or abusive treatment of children, is guilty of an offence and can face up to 10 years in prison (section 182A(c) of the Criminal Code). Possessing images or videos of any person under the age of 16 performing a sexual act is an offence. The punishment is imprisonment for twelve months, a fine of $5000 or both. This offence applies if the images or videos are in your ownership, possession or control. As such, if someone sends you a video via cell phone of a person under the age of 16 performing a sex act then you are guilty of an offence (section 3(1) (b) & (c) of the Obscene Publications Act 1973). What if I think I am a victim of a sexual offence? People are often nervous to label what has happened to them as a 'sexual offence'. If you want to speak with someone about your situation, you should go to an adult you trust (your parent, guardian, teacher or counsellor). You can also call The Department of Child And Family Services: Know the Law – Criminal Offences 16 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Family Services Magnolia Place 45 Victoria Street Hamilton HM12 Telephone: 294-5870 Crimes Against Property What are the main property offences in Bermuda? There are a number of offences relating to property. The following are some of the most prevalent ones which young people should be aware of: Criminal damage is intentionally damaging or destroying property and having no right to do so. This is commonly known as “vandalism”. The punishment is determined by the amount of damage and what type of damage is involved (sections 425 & 433 to 448 of the Criminal Code). Arson is intentionally setting fire to or burning a building or other structure. If you commit arson when there is someone inside the building, you commit a more serious offence (sections 426 & 427 of the Criminal Code). Theft is the dishonest taking of property belonging to someone else with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it (section 331 of the Criminal Code). Robbery is stealing from someone while using or threatening force against that person (section 338 of the Criminal Code). Burglary is when someone enters any building as a trespasser with intent to steal (section 339 of the Criminal Code). If you are found trespassing in, or prowling around, someone’s home without a lawful excuse, you are guilty of an offence (sections 329I & 329J of the Criminal Code).
  • Know the Law – Criminal Offences 17 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Is it illegal for me to accept stolen property? Yes. Buying, accepting or handling property known to be or suspected to be stolen is a crime (section 356 of the Criminal Code). Can I take someone's vehicle without their permission? No. It is illegal for you to use a car, motorcycle or pedal bike, even temporarily, without the owner's permission. You face a fine up to $5,000 and/or two years in prison (section 342 of the Criminal Code). Can I use my parents' credit or debit card? No. You may not use any credit or debit card without your own name on it. Disorderly conduct What is disorderly conduct? Disorderly conduct includes begging, disturbing any passenger or dweller nearby, leaving any rubbish, soil or filth without permission and various other acts (section 9 of the Summary Offences Act 1926). You cannot openly exhibit any obscene material, expose yourself or wilfully obstruct passengers in a public place, nor can you behave in a riotous, offensive or indecent manner or use threatening, abusive, insulting or offensive words, gestures or behaviour in a public place (section 10 of the Summary Offences Act 1926). Some schools will also have specific policies over what kind of conduct is not acceptable on campus. You can ask your teacher if you have any questions about what kind of behaviour is acceptable. Can I use profanity on the bus? No. It is against the law to use curse words or profane language on the bus. You will also get in trouble with the law if you write any offensive, indecent or profane words on the bus or if you act negatively or try to inconvenience another passenger on the bus. The law also says that if you spit on the bus or if you are intoxicated on the bus, you are committing an offense. The fine for the first time is $500. The fine for the second offence is $2000 (rule 8 of the Omnibus Conduct Regulations 2012).
  • Know the Law – Weapons and Guns 18 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 4: Weapons and Guns It is illegal to own a firearm in Bermuda without a licence. In spite of this fact, Bermuda has seen an increase in gun violence over the past 5 years. This chapter will outline and explain some of the laws regarding guns and other offensive weapons that you should be aware of in order to protect yourself and others. What is an offensive weapon? An offensive weapon is anything made or adapted for causing injury or incapacitation. Such items include a gun, knife, sword or other bladed article (section 315 of the Criminal Code). Is it legal to carry a weapon? No. It is illegal, without good reason, to carry an offensive weapon or bladed or pointed object in public. The exception to this is a folded pocketknife with a blade of less than 3 inches (sections 315 & 315C of the Criminal Code). Can I take a weapon to school? No. It is an offence to bring a weapon onto school premises and if you are an adult, this may lead to imprisonment for 5 or more years (section 315D of the Criminal Code). Schools are considered an ‘increased penalty zone’. What is an increased penalty zone? While crimes carry a penalty of their own, the penalty may be increased if they occur within an increased penalty zone. Section 332 of the Criminal Code lists the physical locations of increased penalty zones as follows:- • all schools; • Hamilton bus terminal; • youth centres; • churches; • public playgrounds; • public parks; and • Harbour Nights. Can I own a gun? No. It is illegal to import, manufacture, carry, supply or have in your possession, a gun or firearm without a licence. It is also illegal to have any form of ammunition (sections 2 & 3 of the Firearms Act 1973).
  • Know the Law – Alcohol & Drugs 19 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 5: Alcohol & Drugs Most of you are aware of alcohol and drug abuse problems in Bermuda. Some of you may even have friends or classmates or family members that use alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. This chapter will address the laws that govern alcohol, tobacco and drugs in Bermuda. Alcohol When can I buy and drink an alcoholic beverage? You must be 18 years old before you can buy, drink or possess alcoholic beverages (section 42 of the Liquor Licence Act 1974). Can I go to bars or nightclubs? No. You are not allowed to enter a bar or nightclub if you are under 18. Someone at the bar can ask to see your photo ID and if they are not satisfied that you are 18, they are not allowed to serve you and must require that you leave (section 40(2 & 3) of the Liquor Licence Act 1974). If you fail to leave when asked to do so by the bar/club or a police officer, you commit a criminal offence and can be fined up to $500 (section 40(4) of the Liquor Licence Act 1974). What is DUI? DUI stands for 'driving while under the influence' of alcohol or other drugs (section 35 of the Road Traffic Act 1947). If a police officer suspects that you are under the influence while driving, you may be required to take a breathalyzer test, or have other bodily fluids tested to determine your alcohol level (section 35C of the Road Traffic Act 1947). I look a lot like my older sibling; can I use their ID to buy alcohol? No. It is against the law to use a fake ID. If you use any form of identification that is not yours, you can be convicted of an offence and ordered to pay a fine of up to $500 (section 40(4)(b) of the Liquor Licence Act 1974).
  • Tobacco Can I buy cigarettes? It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase cigarettes or any tobacco products (section 4D of the Tobacco Products (Public Health) Act 1987). Marijuana What is marijuana? It is a drug derived from cannabis plants which when smoked or consumed can have physical or effects on you. It is an illegal substance. Other names include cannabis, weed, herb, grass, chronic and ganja. But I heard that marijuana is safe for you. Some people think that marijuana should be decriminalized or allowed legally. It is their right to advocate for this in our free and democratic society. However, until the Legislature changes the law, possessing, growing, supplying and using marijuana remain illegal. Are there legal and social consequences for having or using marijuana? Yes. If you are convicted of possessing marijuana, you can be sentenced: • on summary conviction: to 12 months or a fine of $1,000 or both such imprisonment and fine. • on indictment, for a first offence: to imprisonment for 5 years or a fine or both such imprisonment and fine; • on indictment, for a second or subsequent offence: to imprisonment for 10 years or a fine or both such imprisonment and fine. In addition, your name can be placed on the US Department of Homeland Security’s list of restricted travelers (what most people would call the ‘Stop List’). This can affect your ability to travel for pleasure, to represent Bermuda in sports or go to school in the US. Other Drugs What is a controlled drug? A controlled drug is a substance that the government thinks should be monitored because of its potential for abuse. Even substances that are legal can be considered illegal when combined or possessed with intent to make an illegal substance (section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972). Are there other illegal substances that I should stay away from? Yes. There are many other dangerous drugs besides tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. You should consider any drug not prescribed to you as dangerous. Hallucinogens: these affect the central nervous system distorting the perception of reality. The most well- known are ‘ecstasy’, ‘angel dust’, PCP, LSD, marijuana and mushrooms. Stimulants: these temporarily increase the function of the heart, lungs, brain or nervous system. Commonly used stimulants are ‘speed’, ‘crack’, ‘coke’, ‘crank’, ‘crystal meth’ and ‘yellow jackets’. Know the Law – Alcohol & Drugs 20 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Sedatives: these depress or slow down the body's functions inducing sleep or sedation. These drugs are also referred to as tranquilizers or sleeping pills. Inhalants: these are sniffed or ‘huffed’ to give the user an immediate high or head rush. Aerosols and cleaning supplies are commonly abused. Know the Law – Alcohol & Drugs 21 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Narcotics such as heroin, cocaine and opium are illegal. Narcotics such as morphine, oxycontin and methadone are legal only if prescribed by a physician. It is illegal to use, possess, transport, sell, furnish or give away any illicit substances (sections 4 to 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972). Is it okay to take someone else’s prescription drugs? No. Prescription drugs are legal only if they are prescribed for you by a doctor and are taken according to your doctor's directions. It is illegal to take another person's prescriptions or to sell prescriptions. It is also illegal to change a prescription or to use a fake ID to fill a prescription. What are the types of drug crimes? Possession occurs any time a person possesses a controlled substance without authorization. It can also occur when a person obtains a controlled substance using a false ID or alters a prescription (section 6 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972). Handling, which includes carrying, removing, harbouring, keeping or concealing any controlled drug is an offence (section 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972). It is also an offence to produce and supply or offer to supply a controlled drug (section 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972). Drug trafficking is the possession of large quantities of illegal drugs. Trafficking is considered very serious because the amount of drugs indicates intent to sell for profit instead of personal consumption. Penalties for trafficking are more severe and are determined by the amount and type of drug (section 3 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 1997). Rule of thumb: If you are asked by a friend or anyone to take or deliver a package, say no! What is drug paraphernalia? Drug paraphernalia can include anything used for drugs. The law defines drug paraphernalia as all equipment, products and materials of any kind that are intended or designed for use in connection with the misuse of a controlled drug or the preparation of any such drug for misuse (section 9 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972). What if I have drug paraphernalia, but no drugs? You would be guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia if you have it with the intent to use drugs (section 9 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972). What if a drug dealer sells near school or at school? This is a very serious offence. Anyone who is found guilty of selling narcotics or other illegal drugs at, or within 300 meters of, any school or playground, faces an increased penalty (schedule 4.1 to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972).
  • Know the Law – Guardian-Child Relationships 22 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 6: Guardian-Child Relationships When you become a parent, you have certain rights and responsibilities. The laws in Bermuda require parents to care for their children and take certain responsibilities in raising their children. The law imposes certain rights and responsibilities on children too. This chapter will explain the legal responsibilities and duties of families. Guardian/Parents' Responsibilities & Rights What does the law say about the relationship between my parents and me? Your parents have the right to custody and control of you. Custody and control means that you must obey your parents, but that they must also take care of you until you reach the age of 18 years old. What is my responsibility to my parents? You must follow your parents' rules and go along with their decisions. What are my guardian/parents' responsibilities to me? Parents must provide you with life necessities, such as clothing, shelter and medical care (sections 272 & 316 of the Criminal Code). They cannot desert or abandon you (section 204 of the Criminal Code) and must provide supervision, discipline and protection for you. Parental responsibility is defined as “rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property” (section 4 of the Children Act 1998). Those who do not have parental responsibility for you but have care and control may “do what is reasonable in all the circumstances of the case for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare.” Can my parents spank me? Yes. Custody includes the right to discipline you, which may include spanking. They may be strict with you as long as they do not endanger your health and welfare (section 266 of the Criminal Code Act 1907). Do I need my parents' permission to get a tattoo or body piercing? Yes. If you are under 18, you need a parent’s or a guardian’s written permission. They must also accompany you in order to get a tattoo or body piercing (rule 12 of the Public Health (Body Piercing, Electrolysis and Tattooing) Regulations 2001).
  • Do my parents ever stop having custody and control of me? Yes. When you turn 18, you are considered an adult. Your parents are then no longer legally responsible for you, nor do they have legal control over you. This is called reaching the “age of majority” (section 3 of the Age of Majority Act 2001). If I damage someone else's property, could my parents have to pay? Yes. If any act of willful misconduct by you leads to any damage or destruction of party, the owner can sue your parents for the loss up to $10,000 for each act (section 12 of the Parental Responsibility Act 2010). Child Abuse Do my parents have an obligation to feed and clothe me? Yes. Parents are responsible for providing adequate food, medical treatment, supervision, clothing or shelter. If they do not, it is considered neglect (sections 272 and 316 of the Criminal Code). What is child abuse? Child abuse is harm or threatened harm to the health and welfare of a person under the age of 17. Harm may include an intentional, reckless or negligent physical or mental injury, exposure to illegal drugs, or sexual abuse. If I tell my teacher about neglect or abuse, will I get in trouble? No. Professionals such as teachers, doctors, clergy and social workers are required to report neglect and abuse, by law. They are ‘mandated reporters’, which means that if they have any information indicating that a child has been, or is being abused, they must notify the Director of Child and Family Services (section 20 of the Children Act 1998). Marriage If I am under the age of 18, do I need my parents’ permission to get married? Yes. If you are under 18, your parents or guardians must give their approval. Males and females can get married to each other at any time after turning 18 (section 15 of the Marriage Act 1944). Know the Law – Guardian-Child Relationships 23 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Know the Law – School 24 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 7: School Young people in Bermuda have a right to an education. Every child who lives in Bermuda has a right to receive free primary, middle and senior school education suited to his age, ability, special needs (if any), aptitude and health at an aided or maintained school (section 51(1) of the Education Act 1996). Students' Responsibilities & Rights Do I have to go to school? Yes. Education is critically important to your development as a productive citizen. It is also your legal responsibility and that of your parents or guardians to see that you go to school full time from 5 until 18 (section 40 of the Education Act 1996). Do I have responsibilities as a student? Yes. Each school has its own code of conduct. These codes generally include a need to attend school regularly and on time, to obey the school rules and directions of those in authority at your school, to be honest, to attend to your studies, and to respect teachers, other students and school property. You are also required to avoid unlawful activities, including assault, consuming or possessing drugs and/or alcohol or damaging property. Committing any of these offences may result in suspension or expulsion from school. Do I have rights as a student? Yes. You should be allowed to receive a quality education in a safe, supportive school environment, have equal access to the curriculum, be treated with courtesy and respect, and to be able to express yourself and pursue your academic interests in a way which does not deny fellow students' right to learn. Parents' Responsibilities & Rights What are my parents' responsibilities when it comes to my education? They must ensure that you attend school regularly. They can be criminally liable for your conduct in school, and are therefore responsible for understanding the standards for student conduct at your school. Your parents should also monitor and supervise your schoolwork and any educational activities in which you are involved. They should also provide your school with up-to-date information especially when requested. What are my parents' rights when it comes to my school? Parents have the right to refuse the use of corporal punishment on their child by notifying the school. They also have the right to expect a safe, healthy school environment for their child. They have the right to be informed of their child's development on a regular basis and to be informed of new policies and procedures (the Code of Conduct: Ministry of Education and Development, 2003).
  • Schools' Responsibilities & Rights Can teachers or administrators open my school locker and search it? Yes. The administrator is allowed to search students' lockers or any part of school property which has been provided for you. A search of your locker or bike is only allowed if there is reasonable cause for suspecting the student is violating school rules or the law. Only law enforcement officers are able to search a student's person, which must be done in the presence of the administrator (the Code of Conduct: Ministry of Education and Development, 2003). Truancy Can I skip school for a few days? Yes. You must have written permission from your parents if you miss school, eg if you are ill. Otherwise, you are breaking school rules. Being absent from school for five or more days in a term is considered truancy and can result in even more serious punishment. Discipline at school What is the process for administering discipline? The student and/or the parents/guardians will be notified of the complaint, with evidence provided and explained. The student also has the right to tell his or own version of the event(s). After the decision is made, the student and/or parents/guardians must be informed of this decision and the punishment is then carried out (the Code of Conduct: Ministry of Education and Development, 2003). What is corporal punishment? Corporal punishment includes physical punishment such as caning. According to the Education Rules 1974, corporal punishment can still be used in Bermuda's schools at the discretion of the administrator. No student can receive more than four strokes of the cane or strap which can only be used on the student's hand (the Code of Conduct: Ministry of Education and Development, 2003). What is detention? This is a form of punishment where the student is detained at the end of the school day and is generally for a minimum of 30 minutes. Prior to the detention, the student's parents/guardians must be given at least 24 hours' written notice of the date of the detention. What is suspension? Suspension is the temporary removal of a student from school or class. The parents/guardians of the student must be informed of the length of suspension, the reason for it, and the school's intended actions. There are two types of suspension: in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension. • In-school suspension is where you come to school, but instead of attending classes with your peers, you spend the day at school completing assigned school work under supervision. The maximum number of days that you can be put on an in-school suspension is five days. • Out-of-school suspension is used for a single serious act or as a last resort for continuous misconduct. This suspension will be served off the school premises in an alternative setting provided by the parent/guardian and it is also their responsibility that all assigned school work be requested, collected and returned during this Know the Law – School 25 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • period. Some schools also require community service hours to be completed after suspension. Maximum numbers of days that you can be put on an out-of-school suspension is 5 days. (See the Code of Conduct: Ministry of Education and Development, 2003.) What is expulsion? Expulsion removes a student completely from the school. It may also mean complete removal from the Government school system and is only used in cases of extreme misconduct. Do I have any way to defend myself from being suspended or expelled? Your parents/guardians have the right to appeal to the Minister of writing a letter shortly after the notice of suspension/expulsion in given. They must include the reason(s) for appealing (the Code of Conduct: Ministry of Education and Development, 2003). What if I show up at a school function or sporting event while I am suspended or expelled? This is considered trespassing and can result in parent/guardian notification, verbal warning and/or removal by school staff or the Police (The Code of Conduct: Ministry of Education and Development, 2003). After school Is it wrong to hang around the school grounds after school is dismissed? Unless you are involved in a specific after-school activity on school premises or have permission otherwise to be there, you are not allowed to loiter on school grounds after school is dismissed. Drugs at school Can I use drugs while I am a student, even if it is outside of school? No. The Minister of Education is responsible for making sure that all students are drug free. What will happen if I do? If the Minister has a ‘good reason’ to believe that a student is using drugs, he or she may request that the student be tested. If the test results show that the child is using drugs, the Minister will require that the student goes to counseling and drug treatment programme to help them to stop using drugs. Will my parents find out? Yes. In order for the Minister to arrange for the student to be tested and for the student to get treatment, the Minister must have the permission of the principal of the school and the parent/guardian of the student. Once the Minister suspects that a student is using drugs, the parents will be contacted. Know the Law – School 26 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Know the Law – School 27 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Will I be allowed to go to school if the drug test shows I use drugs? This is for the Minister to decide. The student may be suspended. What if I quit using drugs after treatment? If it is shown that the student has quit using drugs after treatment, the Minister must allow the student to return to school. What if I do not quit using drugs after treatment? If the Minister has a good reason to believe that the student is still using drugs, the Minister can expel the student. In order for the student to be expelled, the Minister must first talk to the principal and the parent/guardian of the student. The Minister must also keep in mind whether the student’s classmates will be affected by the student’s return (section 67 of the Education Act 1996).
  • Know the Law – Transportation 28 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities There are laws in Bermuda related to pedal bikes, motor bikes and all other motor vehicles. Although you may not be old enough to operate a motor vehicle, it is important to be aware of the rules that govern the road and streets. Even as a pedestrian, there are laws that you should follow. When you are aware of the laws you not only ensure our own safety and protection, but you also can help to preserve the well being and safety of others, as we travel to and from our destinations. Bicycles Are there special laws for bicycle riders? Yes. Every person riding a bicycle on a road must obey all the laws that the driver of a car or moped must obey. It is suggested that you ride closest to the left side of the road. It is against the law for any person to ride any two- wheeled vehicle, however propelled, below the high- water mark (section 16 of the Summary Offences Act 1926). Should I wear a bicycle helmet while riding? Yes. It is recommended that when riding a bicycle, you should: • Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet; • Adjust your bicycle to fit; • Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work; • Wear bright or reflective clothing so drivers and other bikes can see you; and • If you are driving at night, you are required to have a white light at the front, and a red reflector on the rear, of your bicycle (section 25 of the Road Traffic Act 1947). When riding my bicycle, do I have to follow the rules of the road? Yes. When riding a bicycle on the road, you must follow the same laws as any other road vehicle. This includes • riding in the correct lane; • stopping at stop signs; • stopping at red lights; • not hitching yourself onto the back of another vehicle; • giving right of way to vehicles; • giving right of way to pedestrians; and • only riding with as many people as the bicycle allows (one seat, one rider). Chapter 8: Transportation
  • Skateboards, Roller Skates & Scooters Am I allowed to ride my skateboard in Hamilton? No. In the City of Hamilton, it is illegal to roller skate, roller blade, or ride any skateboard or scooter in any street or car park (rule 28N of the Hamilton Traffic and Sidewalk Ordinances 1988). The use of scooters, roller-blades, skateboards and/or skates on school property is generally prohibited (the Code of Conduct: Ministry of Education and Development, 2003). Cars & Other Motor Vehicles What is a motor vehicle? A motor vehicle is any vehicle that runs on its own power. In other words, it has a motor. This includes cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, motor scooters, motorbikes, mini-bikes, four wheelers, go-carts and mopeds. Are there laws about motor vehicles? Yes. All motor vehicles must be registered in order to be driven on public roads. You must always have an appropriate driver's license to operate the vehicle. This must be with you at any time that you are driving, and it is an offence not to have your licence on the road (rule 19 of the Motor Car (Examination, Licensing and Registration) Regulations 1952). Any driver of any motor vehicle must be insured against third party risks for that vehicle. That is, if you hit someone on the road and are responsible, you have to have insurance to cover the other person’s damages and possible hospital bills. TCD will not let you licence a vehicle without insurance (Motor Car Insurance (Third- Party Risks) Act 1943). All motor vehicles have to be built and equipped to meet legal requirements for lights, brakes, windshields and mirrors. More information on traffic laws can be found in the Traffic Code Handbook, which can be purchased at TCD. If I borrow a friend's vehicle, am I responsible for anything wrong with it? Yes. As a driver, you are responsible for anything that is wrong with or illegal about the vehicle, even if you borrowed it from a friend or relative. Am I allowed to have a chopped out muffler? No. It is illegal because it makes too much noise. No one is allowed to ride an auxiliary cycle which causes undue or unnecessary noise. This noise includes volume, intensity and pitch. In other words, the law is concerned with how loud and disruptive the noise will be to others (Sections 13(1) and (2) of the Auxiliary Cycles Act). Can I put a kit on my bike? No. It is illegal because it increases the speed and makes the bike faster than a 50cc. The Bermuda Youth License only allows you to ride a bike that is less than 50 cc. It is also illegal to import kits into Bermuda (Section 5A(2)(b) of the Motor-Cycles and Auxiliary Cycles (Special Measures of Control) Act 1953). However, if you are 18 and you wish to keep your bike, you can put a kit on it as long as it does not go over 100cc and you have a motorcycle licence. If my bike is in bad condition, can I still ride it? No. If your bike is in bad condition and is likely to cause damage or injury to another or be disruptive to other road users because of the noise, smoke or smell coming from the bike, it is illegal for you to ride it (section 39 of the Auxiliary Bicycles Act 1954). Know the Law – Transportation 29 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • If I buy a second hand bike, can I ride the bike right away? No. It is illegal to ride the bike until you are registered as the new owner (section 25 of the Auxiliary Bicycles Act 1954). What do I need to know if I plan to sell my bike? If you plan to sell your bike, it is important that you make sure that the new owner registers the bike in their name. If you do not and it is found that the bike does not meet the standards of the law, YOU will be held responsible (section 44 of the Auxiliary Bicycles Act 1954). What is the speed limit? The speed limit in Bermuda is 35 kilometres per hour, (21 miles per hour) except in the Town of St. George's where it is 25 kilometres per hour, unless otherwise specified (Section 7, Road Traffic Act 1947). What if I am charged with a traffic violation? Traffic violations are dealt with at the Magistrates' Court. A summons will be issued by the police requiring you to go to court. Depending on your license (ie whether you have an adult or youth license) and violation, you will be given penalties accordingly. Know the Law – Transportation 30 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities There is a different, speedier procedure for certain minor traffic and parking offences. There is a ticket summons procedure where you can admit your guilt and pay your fine without needing to make a formal court appearance (Traffic Offences Procedure Act 1974). Do I have to pull over for the ambulance? Yes. You must always give way to a fire engine, ambulance or police car, by pulling in at once to the side of the road and coming to a complete stop (section 33 of the Road Traffic Act 1947). Can I pass a bus that is stopped in the road? Yes. You may pass a stationary bus if it is in the bus bay. However, you must always give way to a bus at a bus stop if the driver has signalled an intention to pull out of the bus stop (sections 39 & 71A of the Road Traffic Act 1947) Can I get a traffic ticket if my lights aren't working or something else is wrong? Yes. It is your responsibility to keep your vehicle in good working condition. What should I do if I am stopped and given a ticket? If you are stopped, you should: • remain in your vehicle; • do not talk back to the officer; • listen carefully to the officer's instructions; • keep hands visible to the officer at all times; and • remain calm and courteous, and listen to the officer. Remember what was said about talking to the police on pages 7 and 8. What do I do if I have a car accident? If you are involved in a traffic accident, no matter how serious, you must stop at once and notify the police as soon as possible. If someone is injured, provide first aid if you are able and call for medical assistance. Before the police arrive, use whatever means available to warn other traffic (section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1947). You should get the names and addresses of anyone else involved in the crash, and any witnesses. Stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive. If you leave, you can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident. This is commonly known as a “hit and run”. This is a serious offence (section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1947).
  • Know the Law – Transportation 31 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities What if I hit another vehicle or damage property and the owner is not there? If your vehicle hits an unattended vehicle, either notify the police, make an attempt to locate the owner of the parked vehicle or leave a written notice giving your name and address in a place where it is easily seen on the vehicle. If a mishap damages any other type of property, notify the property owner (Section 42, Road Traffic Act 1947). I am in middle school now; do I still have to wear a seat belt? Yes. If you are in the front seat, you must always wear a seat belt (rule 3 of the Motor Cars (Seat Belts) Regulations 2003). Anyone under the age of 14, is required to wear an adult seat belt in both the front and back seats of a car (Rule 3 of the Motor Cars (Seat Belts) Regulations 2003). Can I use my cell phone while driving? No. It is illegal to use a cell phone or any hand-held device while driving a vehicle (Traffic Offences. (Penalties) Act 1976; Regulation 12 of the Auxiliary Bicycles (Construction, Equipment and Use) Regulations 1955; and Regulation 44 of the Motor Car (Construction, Equipment and Use) Regulations 1952). Auxiliary Cycles / 50cc Bikes / Mopeds Am I old enough to get a licence for a 50cc bike at 16 years old? Yes. You are allowed to get a license for an auxiliary cycle (any 50 cc cycle or less) at age 16 (Section 15, Auxiliary Bicycles Act 1954). This licence is called a Bermuda Youth License. At age 18, you are able to get a license to ride a motor cycle, which has an engine size of 51cc to 150cc. What is the Bermuda Youth Licence? A Bermuda Youth Licence is given to someone over 16, but under 18, who has completed Project Ride and has given the required medical forms and funds to the Transport Control Department (TCD). A Bermuda Youth Licence has special restrictions, which include: • No driving with a passenger (ie towing); and • No driving between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. (section 15 of the Auxiliary Bicycles Act 1954) Rule of thumb: Early fun to make it home by one & 17 and below...don’t tow! Pedestrians What are pedestrian rules? A person who is walking is a pedestrian. Pedestrians should always use sidewalks if available. If there are no sidewalks, they should walk close to the right-hand edge of the roadway facing oncoming traffic. If you are a pedestrian, you have the right of way in crosswalks, whether or not white lines mark them. As a pedestrian, you also have the responsibility to not step into the path of an oncoming vehicle just because you have the right of way (section 27 of the Road Traffic Act 1947).
  • Know the Law – Work 32 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 9: Work Most teenagers look forward to having a job and their own pocket money. Up until the age of 18, education should be a primary responsibility and expectation, but there are laws designed to assist young people who are interested in working while still enrolled in school. Am I old enough to get a job? No one under 13 years old may be employed, however this does not include when your parent or guardian gives you an allowance for light work, and even these have limits (sections 3 & 4 of the Employment of Children and Young Persons Act 1963). If you are under 15, you cannot work on a vessel or in industry (such as construction or manufacturing); however, you are allowed to do light work and training (section 6 of the Employment of Children and Young Persons Act 1963). If you are 16 or 17, you can only work as late as midnight, and, in the case of a female, adequate arrangements must be made by the employer for her safe return home after working at night (section 7 of the Employment of Children and Young Persons Act 1963). Are there different rules for non-Bermudian youth who want to work? Yes. Non-Bermudians cannot work under the age of 18 in Bermuda unless they have Bermudian or PRC status or they have their own work permit. Can I work during school hours while school is in? Whilst you are of compulsory age of school attendance, you can only work outside of school hours and for a maximum of 2 hours per day (section 5 of the Employment of Children and Young Persons Act 1963). You may work full time if you are 16 years old or older and not enrolled in school. This would include school holidays and breaks. Can I work in a restaurant where alcohol or liquor is served? If you are under 18, you may only work in a place which serves or sells alcohol or liquor if: • you work in a grocery store, in a section different to that where alcohol is sold; or • you work in a hotel, restaurant or registered cruise boat and are not involved in sale of alcohol. Is there a minimum wage in Bermuda? No. There is no minimum wage set in Bermuda.
  • Know the Law – Technology 33 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 10: Technology Here in Bermuda we have access to a wide range of technology, including computers, cell phones, digital cameras, mp3 players. As technology has gotten faster and their uses have become broader, it has become even more important that you are aware of the restrictions, laws and responsibilities that accompany the use of certain devices. Safety is also something to consider and there are precautions you should be aware of when you are online or using your cell phone. Smart phones, computers and the Internet are fast and easy ways to stay in contact with friends and family. They are also great sources of information for research for school projects, listening to music or when you simply do not know something. This chapter will teach you about some of the laws of Bermuda that you should know and some of the safety precautions that you can take, in order to enjoy the world of technology in a safer way. Computers & the Internet Can I use information from the internet for school assignments? Yes. You may use the information you find online in your schoolwork. You can use the Internet in a similar way as you would use a book. If you use information from the Internet, be sure to ask your teacher how to reference your source. Copying information without referencing your source and pretending it is your own is known as plagiarism. Is everything on the Internet true? No. Not every website is accurate and it is often hard to tell what is true and what is not. It is a good idea to check several different websites to compare information and check with your parents or teachers about suggested trustworthy sites. Can I try and get access to other people’s computer without permission? No. Gaining access to computer networks or an individual computer without authorization is called computer hacking, and it is illegal. In Bermuda, if you are found guilty of hacking, you can be sentenced to 6 months in prison and/or a $6,000 fine (section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1996). Can I download music or videos? No. Only use legal music or video download site. Be careful when using free download sites as they may not comply with the law. Even sharing music files or video files with your friends can be considered illegal if done without the permission of the copyright holder. Most legal sites charge a small fee per download for legal copies of music or videos. It is against the law to download music, movies or other media if you are violating its copyright. A copyright is the legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, artist or publisher to exclusive publication, production, sale or distribution of an original literary, musical, dramatic or artistic work.
  • Internet Safety Are chat rooms safe? No. Chat rooms are not safe places to be while online. A great deal of negative things can result from chat rooms, such as bullying, stalking, kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct and murder. Not all chat or instant messaging is bad, however. Ask your parents to help you find safe areas to communicate with your peers. What if I get harassing e-mails or instant messages? You should report any harassing e-mails or instant messages to your parents, guardians, teachers, counsellor and anyone else who might be able to help you. These forms of harassing communication are commonly known as “cyber bullying”. In some situations, it may be necessary to notify the police. Can I do or say anything online? Don't assume you are anonymous online. Anything you do on your computer can be traced back to you using computer technology. Also, you can get in trouble for things that you say online about someone which are not true. The laws of defamation apply just as much to anything you say on Facebook or Twitter as you would say offline. It is best to assume that anything you say online can and will be read by others and can be used as evidence in court if the statement amounts or relates to an offence. Always be careful about giving out your personal information on the Internet. What else can I do to stay safe online? The Department of E-Commerce of the Bermuda Government publishes a very resourceful website with many tips on computer safety. You can find the website at Cell Phones Are there any laws concerning cell phones? Yes. If you use your cell phone to check e-mail, instant message or chat, the same laws that apply to a computer and the Internet apply to your phone use. • Do not dial text or talk while driving. It is dangerous and illegal. • Before you bring a cell phone to school, check your school's policy. Am I at risk of identity theft while using my cell phone? Yes. Any form of wireless communication can lead to identity theft or access to your personal information. To prevent this risk, follow these guidelines: • Only give your cell phone number to people you know and trust. • Never reply to a text message from someone you do not know. • Learn how to block unwanted callers. • Keep your phone in a secure place at all times to prevent theft. Know the Law – Technology 34 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Know the Law – Recreation 35 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities Chapter 11: Recreation When we think of recreation, we often think of simply having fun, but recreational activities are a part of developing leisure skills. Recreation is for enjoyment and pleasure, but some activities can be hazardous and may involve risk. Most recreational activities have laws that regulate them, such as age and sometimes licensing requirements. This chapter will outline a few laws that apply to young people in Bermuda. It is important to be responsible, and know the law, even when having fun. Water Sports Power-craft regulation is governed by rule 4 of the Power-Craft Regulations 1960: • If you are under 12, you cannot operate a power-craft of any kind. • If you are 12, 13, 14 or 15, you may operate a power-craft of less than 6 horse-power. • You must be 16 or over to operate a power- craft of 6 horse power or more. Can I get a license to operate a boat at 14 years old? No. A person under 16 cannot obtain registration of a boat (rule 5 of the Registration of Boats Regulation 1990). In Bermuda, are there rules that apply specifically to our beaches? Do I need permission to have a bonfire on a beach? Yes and yes. A written permit is required to build, maintain or use fire that is not within a camp stove or barbecue (rule 11 of the Bermuda National Parks Regulations 1988). You must be over 16 years of age and be considered competent in order to tend to, build, maintain or use a fire. Can I ride a horse on the beach? The regulation of horses on beaches is governed by rule 5(2) of the Bermuda National Parks Regulations 1988: Between 1st November to 30th April: • You can take or ride a horse on any beach. • Exceptions: you cannot ride a horse on Horseshoe Bay Beach, John Smith's Bay Park and Elbow Beach Park.
  • Between 1st May to 31st October: • You can take or ride a horse on any beach but only between 5 am & 8 am. • Exceptions: you cannot ride a horse on Horseshoe Bay Beach, John Smith's Bay Park and Elbow Beach Park. Can I take my dog on the beach in the middle of the summer? No. No person can bring an unleashed dog onto any public beach between April 1st and October 31st. In any protected area, the leash on a dog has to be 3 metres or less in length (rule 6 of the Bermuda National Parks Regulations 1988). Pets Are there laws that I must follow as a pet owner? Yes. You have to be 18 in order to own or keep a dog (section 4 of the Dogs Act 2008). Anyone that chooses to own a dog must not leave a dog unattended unless it has: (a) access to drinking water; (b) has reasonable shelter against the sun, wind and rain; and (c) is able to move freely within an area that is not less than eighteen square feet. Where a person tethers a dog by a chain, that person shall ensure that the thickness of each link of the chain does not exceed 1/4 inch (section 14 of the Dogs Act 2008). When is a leash required for a dog? No one can take a dog to a public place unless the dog is on a leash, in a carrier or restrained. In addition, there are some areas where the Government has disallowed dogs in public (section 16 of the Dogs Act 2008). Know the Law – Recreation 36 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Where to get help? Although Bermuda is a smaller jurisdiction than most, there are still many ways to get free access to legal information and resources. If you need information, do not hesitate – go and get it. One place to start is This website provides up to date information on the laws in Bermuda, and you can search by name, by year or by topic. Bermuda Legal Aid Legal Aid Office 2nd Floor, Ingham Wilkinson Building 128 Front Street, Hamilton HM12 Tel: (441) 297-7617 Department of Child and Family Services Family Services Magnolia Place 45 Victoria Street Hamilton HM12 Telephone: (441) 294-5870 Centre for Justice Bermuda Youth Law Know the Law – Where to get help? 37 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Glossary Term Definition Abscond A failure to return to police custody after being released on bail. Absolute Discharge This is a type of sentence; after you are found guilty or you plead guilty, the court takes no further action against you and the charge will be dismissed (although you will not be convicted, it may still be recorded on your criminal record). Accused A person charged with an offence. Also referred as the 'defendant'. Acquittal A discharge of the defendant or following a finding of not guilty. Advocate General term for a lawyer appearing in court. Arrest Temporary detention of a suspect, usually by a police officer. Bail The release of a Defendant from custody until their court appearance. The bail may include conditions specified by the court that the Defendant must follow. Burden of proof Whose responsibility is it to prove a case? In criminal cases, it is always the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that a defendant is guilty and NOT for the defendant to prove that he or she is innocent. In civil cases, it is the person making an allegation (ie that person hit me with her car!) that has the burden of proving the case. Caution If you are arrested by the Police for a minor offence and you accept responsibility for the offence, the Police may give you a warning rather than charge you. Charge A formal accusation against a person alleging he or she has committed a crime. Child & Family Services If you are between the ages of 8 and 15 and convicted of an offence that is punishable with prison, you cannot be sent to prison, but may be placed in the care of the Director of Child & Family Services Co-Educational Facility This is the main ‘Senior Training School’ for young people between the ages of 16 and 17. Know the Law – Glossary 38 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Conditional Discharge This is a type of sentence; after you are found guilty or you plead guilty, the charges against you will be discharged on the condition that you do not reoffend within a certain time (although you will not be convicted, it may still be recorded on your Criminal Record). Constitution A constitution is the supreme law in any country which sets out how the institutions and actors of a government are organized. It also protects certain fundamental rights and freedoms of the people against government intrusion. Bermuda’s Constitution came into force in 1968. Conviction This is what will be recorded against your name if you plead guilty or are found guilty of a criminal offence. Counsel Also known as a barrister or lawyer. Court of Appeal This court hears all appeals from the Supreme Court, whether in civil or criminal matters. Criminal Record When someone is found guilty of a crime, the police and the court can keep track of it in a file called a record. These records can cause problems for people for a long time. For example, a criminal record makes it hard to get a job or travel to other countries. A criminal record may also affect a person’s immigration status, and in some cases, may even affect their family’s immigration status. Defence Lawyer This is a criminal lawyer who will defend or represent you in court. Defendant See 'accused' Department of Public Prosecutions The Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the Police. A Prosecutor decides whether there is enough information to take the case to court. The Director of Public Prosecutions (the DPP) is in charge of the Department. Discrimination Discrimination is treating someone differently from others because of a characteristic like age, sex and race. The Constitution prohibits discrimination by laws and by government officials, while the Human Rights Act 1981 also prohibits discrimination by private individuals. Duty Counsel These are lawyers present in plea court when you appear for your offence. If you do not have a lawyer, they will provide you with free legal advice. There is no Duty Counsel in Family Court. Either-way offences These are offences which are more serious than summary offences but not as serious Know the Law – Glossary 39 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • as indictable-only offences. Generally, they will be dealt with in the Magistrates’ court if the facts are not very serious. If they are more serious, they are sent to the Supreme Court for trial. An adult always has the right to choose a trial by jury in the Supreme Court for an either-way offence. Executive The executive is made up of the main public bodies in Bermuda which run the government and which implement the laws written by the Legislature. It is officially headed by the Queen, who is represented by the Governor in Bermuda. However, the Premier and his or her Cabinet are in charge of the regular administration of the government. The Executive also includes law enforcement agencies, like the Police, Customs and the Bermuda Regiment. Family Court A Magistrate's court that was created to deal with children between the ages of 8 and 15 years for Criminal offences. Family Court Panel This is the three individuals who make all decisions in Family Court. It includes one legally trained Magistrate and two lay Magistrates who are general members of the public (but who have special training and experience related to young people). The legally trained Magistrate chairs the panel and makes all legal decision by themselves. All three must decide on the facts of the case, including guilt. Indictable-only offence An offence that can only be tried in Supreme Court. Judiciary This is the branch of government which is responsible for interpreting laws and ensuring that the other branches of government are acting lawfully and constitutionally. The judiciary also resolve disputes in criminal and civil matters and is made up of various types of courts. Lay Magistrate This is the name given to the two persons who sit with the Magistrate in Family Court. Legal Aid Financial assistance for persons who need legal representation. You may apply for Legal Aid or your parents may apply on your behalf if you are of a certain age. Legislature This is the body which writes the laws of Bermuda. It is made up of the House of Assembly, the Senate and the Queen (represented by the Governor). Magistrate This is the name of the Judge in Family Court and Magistrates’ Courts. Magistrates’ Court This is the court which deals with more minor (ie summary) criminal cases and lawsuits for small amounts of money. More serious criminal cases start here but are Know the Law – Glossary 40 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • then sent to the Supreme Court. The Family Court is a special type of Magistrates’ Court. Offence An offence happens when you break the law, by doing something or by failing to do something (see Summary offence). Plea court This is the start of a criminal case in court where the accused is asked whether they will plead 'guilty' or 'not guilty' to the offence. Plead When you first appear in court, the Magistrate will ask you whether you plead guilty or not guilty. Police Caution This is the warning the police must give someone before that person is arrested, questioned, or charged. The words of a police caution are similar to the following: “You do not have to say anything if you do not wish to do so, but anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law.” Pre-sentence report This is a report into the circumstances of a guilty person’s life prepared by the Department of Court Services at the request of a court. They are ordered before a final sentence is imposed on someone. To prepare a report, a probation officer will talk to you, your family or your school. The officer will assess your risk and make a recommendation to the court on what sentence you should be given. The court is not bound by the recommendation. Presumption of Innocence If you have been charged with an offence, you are presumed innocent until a court finds you guilty. Probation This is a type of sentence; the maximum time is three (3) years for your offenders and you will be supervised by a Probation Officer. Prosecutor This is a criminal lawyer whose duty it is prove a case against a defendant (or prosecute him or her). Right to Silence If you are arrested by the Police and questioned, you have the legal right to remain silent. Rule of Law The principle that the law must be clear and everyone must have access to it. Everyone (including government officials) must submit to, obey and be regulated by law, and not arbitrary action by an individual or a group of individuals. Sentence If the Magistrate finds you guilty of breaking the law, this is the consequence you will face after you are brought before the court. Separation of powers This is the idea that the different primary functions of government should be exercised by different bodies and individuals. Know the Law – Glossary 41 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • In Bermuda, our powers are separated between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. Social Inquiry Report If you plead guilty or are found guilty, the court will decide on a sentence and may ask the Probation Officer to give the court some background information in the form of a written report (Social Inquiry report). This takes time to prepare. The Probation Officer will then talk to you to find out about your background, and your family situation. The Probation Officer may also talk to your parents or guardian or to other people who know you. Standard of proof How much proof is needed to prove a case? In criminal cases, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the jury (or judge) must be sure that the defendant committed the crime alleged. This is a very important principle of our criminal justice system. In civil cases, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant committed the wrong alleged on a balance of probabilities. This means that the judge must be satisfied that it is more likely than not that defendant committed the wrong. Summary offence This type of offence can only be tried in Magistrate's Court. Supreme Court A court that hears criminal offences that cannot be heard in the Magistrate’ Court. It also hears appeals of criminal matters from the Magistrates’ Court. The Supreme Court also hears all civil matters which cannot be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court, including lawsuits involving more than $25,000 in damages, applications for judicial review, and applications that your constitutional rights have been violated. Suspended sentence A sentence of imprisonment which does not take effect unless the defendant commits another offence in a certain time. Trial If you plead not guilty in court for your offence, a trial will be held to determine if you are guilty or not guilty. You will be questioned by the Prosecutor and witnesses could also be called. At the end of the trial, the Magistrate or jury will decide if you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, the court will impose a sentence. If you are found not guilty, you will be free to go. Know the Law – Glossary 42 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • Know the Law – Glossary 43 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities
  • If you wish to contact Centre for Justice for any reason, including to provide any feedback on this publication, please do not hesitate to do so at any time. Our contact information is as follows: Website: Email Address: Telephone: 1-441-542-8181 Fax: 1-441-542-8787 Address: The Armoury Building, Second Floor 37 Reid Street, Hamilton HM12 Bermuda Know the Law – Glossary 44 A youth guide to rights and responsibilities