by Emmanuel Joseph
A confrontation between police officers and a junior lawyer at the Bridgetown Port today, has raised serious concerns among the legal fraternity about their access to clients.
Senior defence counsel and former Attorney-General of Barbados, Mia Mottley, this afternoon expressed misgivings about what she said
were problems junior lawyers were experiencing in this regard, after police charged attorney Lani Daisley with trespassing, assault and obstruction when she reportedly sought to see her client, who was being investigated in a drug case at Customs.
Mottley, whose father Elliott Mottley, QC, is leading a team of lawyers in Daisley’s defence, told Barbados TODAY that their client was being held by police since 11 this morning
and lawyers were not allowed to see her until around 2 p.m. Mottley said she had to be taken to the doctor for slight injuries to her palm, shoulder and neck following a confrontation with two police officers in Shed 2 at the Bridgetown Port, where she was trying to see a client who was under investigation.
Daisley, she added, was in the presence of another attorney, Stewart Mottley.
“This begs the whole question about the procedure when lawyers seek to see clients, particularly junior lawyers. They don’t try it with senior lawyers. But when junior lawyers go to see clients, they are made to stand down, they are refused to see clients, they are given all kinds of excuses,” Mottley insisted.
Even when we came in here [Central Station] this evening, she continued, they insisted that a police officer be present when Mr. Romaine Marshall, was speaking to Miss Daisley. He was the first lawyer that got in at 2 o’clock, and when Mr Abrahams and myself went in at 10 past 2, they retired from the chamber to allow us to see our client in private.
The former attorney-general stressed there could not be two sets of standards, adding that the Constitution of Barbados was clear as to what the standards were, and there was a need for police personnel to follow it.
“And what bothers me is that if this happens to a lawyer, imagine if it happens to somebody who is unrepresented in this country. You can’t have two different standards. So I’m not passing any further judgement at this stage, because there are a lot of good police in the Royal Barbados Police Force, but there are equally some who do not believe that they have a duty to the public either to be civil or indeed to be able to deal with the Constitution in terms of access to legal advice,” asserted the senior Opposition MP.
Mottley said the defence team’s priority was to get Daisley released from custody on bail. The accused lawyer, Mottley pointed out, will be pressing counter- charges against the police after which the matter would be reviewed.
The defence counsel noted that this was not the first time this year she has had to complain about challenges with access to clients. In fact, Mottley told this newspaper it was the fourth time.
When asked for an official response, Police Public Relations Officer, Inspector David Welch said he would first have to be properly apprised of the situation before commenting. Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin could not be reached. (EJ)