Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Carrington has suggested the need for a review of the island’s legal system.
Carrington, an attorney-at-law, made the call in light of a recent case in which a man who was granted bail for murder ended up facing the court on another murder charge.
“We need to look at the system very carefully. To me it is something that should not be tolerated any longer. We as a society, as Government, as a people who are interested in justice, we must put our heads together and look at the system and find out where the problems are and deal with it as soon as possible,” he told a meeting of the Democratic Labour Party’s St James North branch at the Weston Community Centre.
“I am not in a position to, nor am I going to, point fingers but it seems to me that two wrongs don’t make a right as they say and to me it makes no sense trying to correct the problem where people are being held on remand long by offering them bail. The obvious solution has to be, and I think the Attorney General will support me on this, to find a way to ensure persons, once they are charged, are brought before the courts in the soonest possible time.”
Carrington further supported the recent call by Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson for the abolition of preliminary inquiries.
However, he said he did not believe the current system of preliminary inquiries were the only cause of the backlog of cases.
“There has to be another problem. I don’t want to speculate what the problems are, but when it comes to a trial you are talking about the police who have to do their investigations, you’re talking about ensuring that all of the rights of the accused persons are protected and you’re talking about trying to ensure that justice is meted out as soon as possible,” he said.
“There are other jurisdictions where offenders move through the system very quickly. There are other jurisdictions where there is not this big, apparent backlog of cases, so all I am asking really, ‘what is so unique about Barbados that we have this apparent backlog . . . that we have a situation where people are on remand so long, that we have to grant them bail?’”
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