Tales from the Courts – No Excuses Says Former Judge XX

Retired Judge Peter Williams earns a BU star.

Retired Judge Peter Williams earns a BU star.

The idea anyone should have to spend eleven years on remand or have to wait a decade to have an appeal heard is unacceptable in any society concerned with delivering justice.  When unacceptable delays occur, and some will be justifiable,  the legal maxim justice delayed is justice denied comes into play and must be addressed with haste by a caring society.  When the person  who has to suffer the injustice is a Barbadian it makes it all the more egregious. Others may add we have a government who offered the rhetoric it is committed to build out a society rather than focused on the economy.

BU has posted exhaustively in the Tales from the Courts  about the dark side of the Barbados judiciary. Regrettably Barbadians are more concerned (if at all) with other matters. How can we have a wholesome society if we are unable to punish the guilty and protect the innocent? How we retain and compete for new business in the international sector if our judiciary is unable to rule in an efficient read timely manner.

BU is heartened to read the comments of retired judge Peter Williams who questioned the long delays of our Courts to deliver decisions – read article  Judge Blasts delays. What makes the current state of affairs most unsavoury is that historically members of parliament and prime ministers have been lawyers, it is the same today.  Prime Minister Stuart is a former Attorney General, the leader of the opposition is a former Attorney General. The current Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite made his reputation – if indeed he has acquired one – working in the offshore sector and must have an appreciation for the impact tardy  court decisions will continue to have on the sector. In summary, based on the composition of our policymakers there is no excuse for the state of Barbados Courts. It is worth mentioning the poor state of the court system spans the Caribbean.

For those who question the motive and credibility of BU frequently highlighting matters to do with the judiciary, we take no pleasure inviting them to read retired Judge Peter Williams insider perspective. Barbadians surely – and this includes the media – must begin a more strident probe why stakeholders have not been able work together to address the problems affecting the court system. What does it mean? Is it an inability to problem solve? Does it have to do with a legal fraternity intent on holding its narrow interest over country? What is it!

The appointment of Marston Gibson has done NOTHING to indicate there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The current situation is crying out for leadership but from where will it come.

44 comments

  • “The current situation is crying out for leadership but from where will it come.”

    One suggestion might be from the barrel of an AK47, I think after a couple of strategic shots the judiciary might sit up and take notice, if not problem solved.

    Now lets move on to the political situation, the rampant corruption etc. Maybe the scheduled MARCH is the start of Barbadian Anarchy.

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  • 11 years lock up in jail for a crime he may NOT have committed.

    If we had investigative reporters in Barbados they would publish the list of cases, number of people on remand and how long they have been in prison.

    HOW LONG IS TOO LONG!!!!!!!.

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  • Hants……..what investigative reporters what, par for the course, no one takes up these causes in Barbados, believe it are not as Bobby said people are scared to open their mouths, everyone and everything is connected to politics, politicians and no one really wants to rock the boat, so of course the corrupt and their corruption have found the perfect environment to thrive, just like bacteria.

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  • David……you have some really annoying pop-ups on your page, they have managed to infiltrate your blog.

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  • Just when we think it can’t sink any lower.

    Attorneys object

     

    Attorneys object

    Thu, June 19, 2014 – 12:03 AM

    A NUMBER OF defence attorneys have challenged reports that an increasing number of those granted bail for murder have been charged for a second murder offence.

    Attorney at law Angela Mitchell-Gittens was among those who have taken issue with the claim that out of 35 murder accused granted bail over the past four years, at least 12 were rearrested and charged with a second murder while on bail.

    In last Friday’s WEEKEND NATION, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock described the situation drawn to his attention by the Royal Barbados Police Force as a serious development.

    He also disclosed that correspondence had been sent to Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson requesting a meeting to discuss the issue of granting bail to murder accused.

    But Mitchell-Gittens was adamant that the statistics were incorrect and claimed that as far as she was aware, over the past four years there had only been a single reoffender on a murder charge after being granted bail.

    She contended that while there might have been accused who were charged with two murders, it might not have occurred while they were on one charge, given bail and then allegedly committed the second offence.

    Rather, the attorney drew reference to a case where one man was charged with committing murder at one stage and a second murder charge was brought against him more than a decade later.

    “There have been little or no incidents of reoffending, with respect to any criminal matters at all for persons on bail for murder,” she said.

    Attorney Ajamu Boardi also expressed concern about the numbers attributed to repeat murder offenders. But one of his major issues, however, was the report of the DPP requesting a meeting with the Chief Justice to discuss the issue of granting bail to murder accused.

    Another attorney, Allan Carter, was “doubtful that the figure was correct” and called for “balance in the system”.

    “In a small community like Barbados, you can’t have people thinking that if they commit murder, there is a strong likelihood that they will get bail. But, at the same time, you cannot trample on people’s constitutional rights.

    “A judge must be free to make a decision after reviewing the evidence, and that is that.

    “If you don’t want murder accused to get bail, then you have to look at giving that person a speedy trial.

    “You also have to look at murders which were committed in self-defence; or where several persons are charged for one murder, evidence may reveal that some accused are less culpable than others,” Carter added.

    Attorney at law Marlon Gordon believed that people questioning bail for murder accused was “an insult to judges”.

    “A judge has to be in a position to assess all the factors concerning the offence and to make a decision,” he said.

    Meanwhile, attorney at law Andrew Pilgrim QC described the statistics as “totally fallacious”. 

    “It is either true or it is not. My research suggests that there is only one such case,” he charged. (SD)

    http://www.nationnews.com/articles/view/attorneys-object/

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  • David

    Do come off it. You’ve just heard the other side. Isn’t that what ‘JUSTICE’ is all about? Or don’t you agree?

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  • Off message
    What is happening in Jamaica?
    Justice Jamaican style. A cause for concern.
    http://www.voice-online.co.uk/video/young-man-forced-hide-shop-after-he-caught-trying-lipstick

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  • I thought Murder was a none bondable offense Ross? There really need to be a fundamental reexamination of the criminal Justice system in the Caribbean.

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  • @Exclaimer June 19, 2014 at 6:44 PM “What is happening in Jamaica?
    Justice Jamaican style. A cause for concern. http://www.voice-online.co.uk/video/young-man-forced-hide-shop-after-he-caught-trying-lipstick

    STUPID JAMAICANS.

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  • But Dompey….

    we been there done that.

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  • And finally, Simple Simon, the inner moral voice of those uncivilized people in jamaica, ought to say to them unequivocally, that I am not God, so therefore I am not the final arbiter of man’s destiny/ fate.

    Simple Simon

    What we are dealing with in jamaica, is a ground of uneducated as well as uncivilized people, who are so narrow- minded in their thinking that their have fail to realize their obvious ignorance. Yes, there is cause for concern when these backward thinking people in jamaica, refuse to allow this consenting adult his right to self- determination. I am not defending the gay and lesbian agenda, but good God, these people have the right to be protected under law from such acts of public lynching. As a predominately Black nation, jamaicans have to examine their own history, to see that their were also publicly lynch for acting out of those defined limits set for them by the white planter- class. During the institution of slavery, sex between a white and a colored person was deemed immoral, so we have made some progress in terms of our thinking as a human race.

    I believe that no one but God has the exclusive monopoly over what a consenting adult should or shouldn’t do with his or her life. The civil law may demand a certain standard of morality from us, but the God’s Divine law supersedes the Civil law. And some way in God’s Divine Law, lives the principles of: self- determination, self- realization, self- actualization and self- perfection.

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  • The reason for posting the Nation article which challenges the DPP numbers is to support the point here it is we have two key stakeholders in the system, lawyers and the DPP, who are clueless about the need to collaborate and be on the same page at this juncture. This is our justice system which is under pressure and instead what do we see, upmanship?

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  • Secondly, a respected retired judge comes out and blasts the system and does it concern anyone? We have become insensitive to what is important, we do not have the capacity it seems to dispassionately process information and form conclusions to guide our actions and responses. We only realize an issue is important when it directly impacts. If this is the case then we have to accept the consequences.

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  • @ David
    “We only realize an issue is important when it directly impacts.”

    Absolutely correct. Most of us don’t come into contact with the police, law enforcement, justice system etc but when we,.our loved ones, a friend or close acquaintance does, we realise how some of these issues impact us.

    There is an excellent commentary in today’s weekend Nation by attorney at law Boardi regarding the bail issue for murder accused. I think it was on the editorial page.

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  • @ David
    “….We have become insensitive to what is important, we do not have the capacity it seems to dispassionately process information and form conclusions to guide our actions and responses. We only realize an issue is important when it directly impacts. If this is the case then we have to accept the consequences.”
    ++++++++++++++
    Yea yea! 🙂
    You can either show off your fancy vocabulary and prose like that….or you can get familiar with the concept of BRASS BOWLS.

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  • David

    And there was absolutely NOTHING wrong and everything RIGHT about posting the Williams piece. It was NECESSARY. My comment was directed to your rubbishing without more the attorneys’ account of the Bail/homicide aspect..

    I see Mr Platitude is around…wonder if he’s listening…BUSH TEA…where did I make “excuses”? If you can’t put up SHUT UP.

    Oh BT…I have a spare walking stick for later if you need it.

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  • The best way to get a reduced sentence for a crime in Barbados is to plead guilty from the time you are arrested. whether you are innocent or not.

    This should reduce the time spent in jail on remand and save the money wasted paying a lawyer to defend you.

    What is the point paying a Lawyer to defend you and you end up being sentenced to 10 years in jail but serve 11 years on remand?

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  • Why come to Canada?????? are there no asylums in Jamaica No hants the best way to get a reduced sentence is to act like a rich white guy, the downside to that is your children will always be hanging around.

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  • @ Ross
    WHAT is your problem?…and what exactly don’t you get about “piss off”…?
    Is Bushie here to explain to you what excuses are?
    …ask Dompey….

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  • People will start paying stark attention to what’s going on in the Judiciary when the Transport Board finally collapses and there is no more taxpayer’s cash cow…….only when the island is affected as a collective will everyone be like “oh, da is wa was going on, wuh we din know” …..Steupss.

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  • @Bushie. You are on a roll. I agree with you. David (BU) has been highlighting the justice problem for years now. And now finally everyone is following his lead. And you are right about excuses. Excuses masquerading as pseudo-intellectual red herrings. Problem is that the stale fish is smelling to high Heaven. Internationally, so the smell cannot be hid. And no foreign investment is coming in for our lords and masters that we put in office to get $5 million to out in their late mothers’ bank accounts. “Brass Bowl” is a very apt description.

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  • The bottlomline is this, #ourjudiciarysucks.

    Justice delayed is justice denied, deny that!

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  • David the Rich are never denied Justice because they pay for it.

    The problem is that the people languishing in jail on remand are poor black people who cannot afford a “legal team” to defend them.

    Name one Doctor,Lawyer,Engineer or any middle class or higher person who is in jail on remand.

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  • “You are on a roll”…gawd help us if THAT’S “rolling”

    “Our judiciary sucks” …give it a break

    “you are right about excuses”……philanderer

    wankers the lot of you

    Bush Tea…I note you didn’t need the walking stick…..sad loudmouth

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  • Ross…..behave yourself…..lol

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  • Any better ideas than our legal system, the French penal code perhaps, shira law????` AC will have to wear a burka instead of a bag.. It could be better but look around the world it could be a heck of a lot worse

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  • There was a time Barbadians measured our success and standards based on homegrown goal setting. Now we look around to seek comfort in mediocrity.

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  • Lionel Messi saves Argentina …

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  • David, not deflect from the topic before hand, but the Barrow cautioned us about the negative influenced of the American culture

    Wake up David, you have been daydreaming for far too long because we have always measured our success by someone else yardstick. Now David, the Barbados you’re talking about is probably some way deep within the dark domain of your subjective reality? Because there is a sharp distinction between fantasy and reality, fact as well as fiction!

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  • David, not deflect from the topic beforehand, but the Barrow cautioned us about the negative influenced of the American culture and its impacted on the minds of the youth. David, you know as well as others here that we have always measure our success against that of America.

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  • This week Andrew Pilgrim argued before Crane Scott J that, in relation to remand prisoners, if the police do not get their act together in a stipulated time the charge against the accused should be dismissed. This is surely right. Indeed, I argued for it in a discussion with Amused some months ago. If I remember, I referred to it as a variant on the ‘three strike principle’.

    It cannot be right, in a system where the presumption of innocence is constitutionally entrenched, that a man should lose his liberty (because bail is refused) and then have to languish at Dodds over years while the police are getting their act together. If you haven’t enough to proceed against a man don’t charge him or don’t oppose bail.

    Crane Scott J was supportive of the proposition but (understandably I suppose) was concerned that there must be a consistent approach from the judges. I guess what is needed now is a ‘practice direction’ from the CJ and perhaps Mr Gale will spearhead this. I understand that the CJ’s judgments are written by his research assistant. OK – on this one get scribbling and then pass it under the CJ’s nose for signature. In any event, for Christ’s sake do something.

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  • Who is the new judge?

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  • Who is the PM’s girlfriend?

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  • Do we have the best possible system for appointing judges?

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  • RR you are correct but is there any wiggle room for a case where …you have to get someone off the street who is a direct threat to the public at large but all the pieces are not in place to convict them yet?

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  • Lawson

    I think that in a non-emergency situation the days of ’round up the usual suspects’ died with Casablanca.

    But yes, it’s perceptions about what a man might do (as distinct from what it’s thought he did do) which lie at the root of arguments opposing bail. The issue is what the period of grace should be…..6 months, one year, four years….Of course, we’re talking about the situation where delay has been caused by the prosecution, eg where there is no file or the file is incomplete.

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  • @ Ross
    You never cease to amaze…
    …so why the hell does your solutions not focus on the REAL problem- like the piss poor legal and administrative work being done at high salaries by so-called public servants?
    …Lost files? …..who has EVER been FIRED?
    ….Incomplete files….these people work for themselves?

    So you are suggesting that since we can’t control these NON producers we should let the accused persons go …to terrorize citizens?
    …instead…
    How about we execute a few damn lawyers every time a case of such ineptitude is discovered?

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  • Ross

    I am afraid I have to disagree with you on the issue of bail. Bail ought and must be granted on the basis of the severity of the crime. Because there are too many instances in America criminal justice system, where the accused had been released/ granted bail in cases involving the violation of an innocent child and did offended again. The question is do we have a moral duty/ responsibility to protect society from an accused who has been known to committed serious crime? ( a repeated offender) And should we put society at risk by granting bail to those persons who are accused of committing serious crime? And does it worth the live of an innocent child because we believe that by granting bail to a repeated offender that he or she would act differently in every case?

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  • Ross

    Question: what criteria would you use to grand bail to a repeated offender; based of on perception that he or she will not offend while out on bail? And Ross, the criminal justice system operates on precedent rather than perception. It is pure lunacy to grant bail to person who has murdered another human being. And then again Ross, you have to factoring a “flight risk” for those who have committed serious crime when granted bail.

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  • Point made on BU and challenge by those who lobe to challenge for doing so sake.

    Second murder charge

    Sun, August 24, 2014 – 10:59 AM

    A MAN WHO IS ALREADY ON BAIL for murder has been arrested and charged for a second murder.

    Police have charged 24-year-old Shamar Antonio Lynch of Walkes Spring, St Thomas, for the murder of Romario Yarde.

    Lynch is scheduled to appear in the District A Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

    Yarde, 20, of Field Place, Bayville, St Michael was shot on August 10 and taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by a group of men in a car.

    He died while undergoing treatment. (PR/SAT)

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  • Maybe he needs some psychological help…. We must understand that our dearly departed brother “Tone” was his father.

    Like

  • Reblogged this on Barbados Underground and commented:

    <

    p align=”justify”>Justice delayed is justice denied [William Penn]

    For several years BU has been ridiculed by many for making the observation Barbados law courts are stymied by a backlog of cases and unable to dispense justice in a timely manner.  BU is on record advocating that QCs function as deputy judges to help with building efficiency in the courts.

    The Barbados Bar Association (BA) in a report carried in the local media titled Go with acting judges confirms BU’s message. The article quotes the BA wanting more judges to help reduce the backload and is calling for government to increase filing and application fees both in the Supreme Court and the Registration Department. The BA’s grievances were addressed in a letter directed to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. The letter also made the point the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had on several occasions reprimanded both the Court of Appeal and the High Court for the unacceptable amount of time it took for cases to be tried and judgements given’. Does any of this looks familiar?

    BU states for the record we are against the BA’s recommendation to increase filing and application fees. At a time of unprecedented financial crisis in Barbados such a move is bound to reduce access to justice by the poor, tipping the scale further in favour of the well off. What manner of people are to want to implement a pricing system to hinder ordinary citizens access to justice?

    Are we about selling justice now?

    Like

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