Members of the public are being asked to make written or verbal submissions to the committee on the bill, which is expected to modernise the Crimes Act 1969 – the legislation currently followed by the Cook Islands justice system.
However, there are sections in the Crimes Act 1969 which are no longer applicable here.
On July 12 parliament named a select committee to look into public submissions and suggestions which will be used to draft the Crimes Bill 2017.
Headed by MP Mona Ioane, the committee will include Rose Brown, Toka Hagai, Tangata Vavia, Selina Napa, Pumati Iseraela and James Beer.
Ioane said they had received two public submissions which would be discussed in a formal meeting on Monday.
Clerk of Parliament John Tangi said the committee had been established to undertake public or community consultations on the important bill and to report the outcome back to Parliament.
A detailed programme of the wider community consultations would be publicised through the media soon, he added.
“The intention here is to engage public’s input into the bill and see whether there are areas that need improvement from the general public’s viewpoint, including interested stakeholders like the Cook Islands Law Society, and non-government organisations.
“Whoever wishes to make submissions in relation to this Bill are most welcome to do so.”
The current Crimes Act 1969 requires modernisation of its language and structure to make it more accessible and easier to understand.
Tangi said the bill was expected to make provisions within the existing Act more conducive to the local environment.
For instance, he said there were outdated provisions covering things such as witchcraft which were no longer applicable to the current system.
CI News earlier revealed that the Crimes Act 1969 provides legislative protection to a husband who rapes his wife. That is expected to change in this new Bill.
The current Act doesn’t include crimes which were not even thought of in 1969, such as offences involving a computer or computer system.
“So the ministry responsible and key agencies, particularly the police, are of a view that because of the changes that have taken place since 1969, there is a need to have a new bill enacted to be more conducive to the local environment,” Tangi said.
“And we are hoping that there will lot of public interest in contributing to this bill through submissions, whether written or verbal.”
An electronic copy of the bill is available from the Clerk of Parliament. Public submissions will close on September 29 at 4pm.