The Bar Association is not in Government’s corner on amendments to the Evidence Act.
President Tariq Khan told Barbados TODAY that the association is not happy with provisions that take away the accused’s right to remain silent.
He said it was a right that has been enshrined in common law and people had come to expect.
“This bill seeks to, I suppose, bring Barbados in line with other jurisdictions, but in the Barbadian context, I am not comfortable that the right to silence be treated in the manner as proposed in the bill,” Khan said.
At the same time, the Bar president said he was not sure whether a constitutional motion on the matter would be successful if brought against the Government.
“Until it is tested . . . the judiciary would have difficulty, in my view, in seeking to overturn statute, if it indeed becomes statute. After all, that is the role of Parliament, that is the role of the legislature – to agree and to produce statute,” Khan said.
He cautioned that lawyers would face a challenge as they sought to defend their clients.
“Lawyers would have to review the way they advise their clients charged with criminal offences whether it is in their interest to remain silent,“ explained Khan.