Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock, QC has received support from a local pastor for his stand on bail for people accused of murder.
Leacock told Barbados TODAY last Friday that criminals had escaped the full weight of the law for much too long and it was time that the judicial system begins sending a strong message to those who choose a life of crime by denying bail to murder accused.
Speaking passionately on the issue during a church service yesterday afternoon, Senator David Durant, senior pastor at Restoration Ministries in Brittons Hill, St Michael pleaded with the justice system to do everything possible to remove “all hindrances” that could possibly “frustrate” the process of justice.
He said if delays were an issue the country needed to ensure that all the necessary resources to deal with criminal matters expeditiously are in place so that those facing murder charges would not be put back on the streets and given the opportunity to engage in further criminal activities.
“We have to do all that we could to really make sure that we handle these cases much more speedily. It is no comfort to those who have lost loved ones having to wait a long time to get justice.
“If the justice system allows persons who commit murder to get off the hook because of prolonged remand time and lack of urgency, then the justice system must be deemed by some to be unfair,” the pastor said.
Meanwhile, also speaking at the church service held for families whose loved ones died tragically, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite suggested that the country needed to find out what had to be done to change the mindset of some delinquent youths who engage in violent or criminal behaviour.
In fact, Brathwaite called on the church to equip young people in problematic communities with moral compass that would force them to think twice before leaving home with guns and ammunition when they go to parties.
“We need to find out what has gone wrong. What do we need to do to change this and we cannot change this by sitting in churches.
“We have to change this by going into the communities, by going into the homes, find out where there are families that have issues, go to the families and see how you can assist the families,” he said.
Brathwaite said he worked with many young people at the Government Industrial School who had underlying issues that manifested themselves in unfavourable behavioural patterns.
“I see the cause and it hurts my heart and that’s why I say continuously that we are looking at the criminal justice system. From the site of the Attorney General, I am looking at how we get down into the root cause.
“How do we go into the primary schools and find out how we can save more of these young people, so that when they become adults, they become responsible adults?”
He said while Government was prepared to fix the criminal justice system to see that justice is swift for grieving families, it was also necessary for families of victims to find peace.
“I will do my part, but you need to do your part. You need to look after you for the sake of your daughter, your grandchildren, your nieces [and] your nephews. I commit to you that we will do our part, but it is no use, you losing your daughter, and losing yourself also in the process,” he urged.
Senator David Durant said though the service was organized to encourage the families to heal, he pledged that his church would become instrumental in forming a support group for families.