On Wednesday morning I decided that I would use this theme (above) to, lazily but appropriately repeat some views. And this just one week away from my big anniversary column.
But it was late Wednesday (by 5:30pm) when I read that the young man accused of murdering little Christine Sookra was freed by the judge on Tuesday. (With good legal reason.)
During the infamous crime spree I was moved to write a piece on the gangster murder of that little innocent in 2004.
There seems to be little change for the better, after years, where certain national social issues are concerned, in this land. So here are my thoughts of nearly four years ago.
More Law, Less Convictions
We cringe as the judicial system allows- or is obliged to let obviously guilty accused walk out of courtrooms as “freed” person- not even ”suspects” anymore.
Quite often we experience prosecutors- specially chosen attorneys, those from the Director of Public Prosecutions’s (DPP) office or from Police – having to actually drop cases made out against accused. Either before the trial starts or early in the proceedings in court.
I’ll repeat that though we are laypersons not versed in the intricacies of the law, it hurts to read, hear and see defence counsel proving that no case was legally and properly made out against their client/accused.
Since “nothing” – in keeping with law and legal persuasion- was proven by the prosecution, a very guilty party walks free.
I have written down a long list of legal reasons given by magistrates and judges as to why they had ruled in favour of the defence. I won’t regale you with them today but I forever wonder: In preparing for court can’t prosecutors anticipate and pre-empt all the loopholes their case may attract? And, utilizing precedents, hopefully good complete police work, prevent defence counsel from getting their way? Cannot good prosecutors predict, even know, what civilian juries will be directed to look for? Poor me. And poor layman victims.
Guyana inherited, and courts seem bound by, the Common Law of England. But I must find out whether over the decades, there is no body of law fashioned by local jurisprudence, or if our Parliaments and Constitution never inspired legal innovations to suit local circumstances.
To me, existing precedents, Case Law, aged statutes prevail still. Smart defence counsel revel in seeing prosecutorial loopholes. That’s why I welcome, cautiously, Parliamentary new rules on Sexual Offences, Domestic Violence, Employment conditions et al. But which forum prevails these days?
Rapes, Robberies, Compromise
For want of prosecution or because of poor prosecution a large percentage of robbers and rapists walk free from our Courts of Law.
High Society Rogues or Low-Life Predators ravage poor young ladies. Suddenly in court one hears that the victim no longer wishes to proceed with the matter. Poor victim, violated but needy, takes “Compensation”. No evidence or witness, the Court is compromised.
I suspect that in some faraway, non-Western jurisdictions that does not occur. Frankly Speaking, to me the rapist should pay the innocent and serve some prescribed penalty as well. But we have our dear old laws. They are there to protect and secure us all Huh?
In today’s wider Guyana context, a rotting, corrupt State environment enables criminal wrong-doing, then official, off any-record pardon.
The senior people steal and repay. They are fired but not prosecuted. The drunken driver pays “compensation” for a life taken, out of Court.
I read too that the legal convention is that it is better for “ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be convicted” (I suppose you can’t undo an execution.) I understand however, that Courts can actually compel unwilling witnesses to testify against accused.
Witnesses are compellable. Penalties for not obeying the Court, in this matter, are laughable. And how long can an unwilling or compromised witness be detained to purge him- or herself from their reluctance.
As the USA passes judgment annually on our judicial system, making me wonder how our top judicial officers feel, I long for a reservoir of well-trained DPP and Police Prosecutors. I am also in favour of more special prosecutors for high- profile cases many of which just “fade away”. Could Law ever be interpreted within a context relevant to this country’s moral deterioration? Discuss.
Crime Strategy, Simple Steps
I welcome the Home Ministry’s Crime–and-Security Programme, even though it has little really new.
As space is limited today, I repeat and offer three simple but powerfully significant suggestions within the context of Mr Rohee’s Grand Strategic Plan.
One: Community Policing Group members must be subject to rigid afternoon training, as well as careful background checks to ascertain past behaviour and present linkages. Two, every police station must have a working vehicle or bike, telephones, radios and persons on duty! Three:
In these days of Satellite GPS, Google and Computers, stations should be able to profile every nook-and–cranny of every village, urban community and district. (Where are escape routes? Old houses? Graveyard to hide weapons? Who lives where with what vehicles?) So, is the above rocket science?
How are investigations into the Guyana/Curacao Gold Heist coming along? Fading away?
Whatever happened to the young Muslim teacher accused of assaulting several Sophia boys? Fading away?
I recall the Trinidadian Roman Catholic Bishop here being kerfuffled when the Sacred Heart Church accused walked free, after years!
A young man in Colorado, USA was seen shooting dead 12 innocents in a theatre. But, the judge has to decide whether there is “evidence” against him!
’Til next week.