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Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Act 2014

REPUBLIC OF VANUATU
MUTUAL ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL MATTERS (AMENDMENT) ACT NO. 28 OF 2014


Arrangement of Sections


_________________________


REPUBLIC OF VANUATU
Assent: 19/12/2014
Commencement: 02/01/2015
MUTUAL ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL MATTERS (AMENDMENT) ACT NO. 28 OF 2014


An Act to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act [CAP 285].
Be it enacted by the President and Parliament as follows-


1 Amendment
The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act [CAP 285] is amended as set out in the Schedule.


2 Commencement
This Act commences on the day on which it is published in the Gazette.


_______________________


SCHEDULE
AMENDMENTS OF THE MUTUAL ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL MATTERS ACT [CAP 285]


1 Subsection 1 (definition of “serious offence”)
Repeal the definition, substitute


‘“serious offence” means an offence against a:


(a) law of Vanuatu for which the penalty is a fine of not less than VT40,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 12 months; or


(b) law of Vanuatu or of another country that, if the relevant act or omission had occurred in Vanuatu, would be an offence against a law of Vanuatu for which the proceeds, property or benefit of that offence is VT3,000,000 or more, or its equivalent in foreign currency.”


2 Section 7
Repeal the section, substitute


“7 Assistance may be provided subject to conditions

(1) Assistance under this Act may be provided to a foreign country subject to any conditions that the Attorney General determines.


(2) The Attorney General, in determining any conditions under subsection (1), must consider:


(a) the provisions of any Convention, Treaty or arrangement relating to mutual assistance in criminal matters to which the foreign country and Vanuatu are both parties; and


(b) any assurances given by that country that it will entertain a similar request by Vanuatu for assistance in criminal matters; and


(c) the seriousness of the offence to which the request relates; and


(d) the objects of this Act as specified under section 2; and


(e) any other matter the Attorney General considers relevant.


(3) If after considering these matters, the Attorney General considers it appropriate, he or she will deal with any request for assistance by a foreign country in accordance with the provisions of this Act.


(4) Nothing in this section limits the operation of sections 8, 9 and 10 in this Act.”


3 Section 10
Repeal the section, substitute


“10 Refusal of assistance- Attorney General’s discretion

(1) A request by a foreign country for assistance under this Act may be refused if, in the opinion of the Attorney General the:


(a) request relates to the prosecution or punishment of a person in respect of conduct that if it had occurred in Vanuatu, would not have constituted an offence against a law in Vanuatu; or


(b) request relates to the prosecution or punishment of a person in respect of conduct that occurred, or is alleged to have occurred, outside the foreign country and similar conduct occurring outside Vanuatu in similar circumstances would not have constituted an offence against a law in Vanuatu; or


(c) request relates to the prosecution or punishment of a person in respect of conduct where, if it had occurred in Vanuatu at the same time and had constituted an offence against a law in Vanuatu, the person responsible can no longer be prosecuted by reason of lapse of time or for any other reason; or


(d) granting of the request (in the case of a request made in respect of a person who is a detainee in Vanuatu) would not be in the:


(i) public interest; or


(ii) interests of the person to whom the request relates; or


(e) provision of the assistance requested could prejudice:


(i) a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding in Vanuatu; or


(ii) a proceeding of any kind under the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Organised Crime Act or this Act; or


(f) provision of the assistance would prejudice or would be likely to prejudice, the safety of any person (whether that person is in Vanuatu or not); or


(g) provision of assistance relates to a matter that is trivial in nature; or


(h) request does not comply with the requirements of section 6.


(2) A request must not be refused solely on the grounds contained in paragraph (1)(g) unless:


(a) the Attorney General first consulted with the Central Authority of the requesting country about the terms and conditions on which the request may be complied with; and


(b) the Attorney General was unable to reach an agreement with the Central Authority in that regard.


(3) For the purpose of subsection (2), “Central Authority” means the authority that is responsible for mutual legal assistance.


(4) A request must not be refused solely on the grounds contained in paragraph (1)(h) unless the Attorney General has first requested further information from the requesting country and that country has failed or refused to provide that information.”


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URL: http://www.paclii.org/vu/legis/num_act/maicma2014464