Friday 10 July, 2020

Abrahams: Only a few bad apples in the legal bunch

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

Government Minister, Wilfred Abrahams has strongly defended the island's lawyers, saying the instances of attorneys who have broken the law is not a true representation of the entire legal profession.

The Acting Attorney General engaged members of the media on the sidelines of a swearing-in ceremony for new attorneys called to the Bar over the weekend.

“We have about 1,300 lawyers here in Barbados; if I ask you to call the name of ten lawyers who have brought the profession into disrepute you’d have trouble calling those names. So that means less than one percent have stains on their character.”

Abrahams was responding to questions about the handling of a million-dollar insurance settlement of Stephen Archer. Before Archer died, he alleged that the attorney responsible for handling his case, misused his funds and left him penniless.

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The Acting AG said he believes any attorney who breaks the law should be made to answer for their crimes.

“I personally believe if lawyers break the law they should pay the price and feel the weight of the law like everybody else. When I was the President of the BAR [Association] we disbarred an attorney for the first time in a long time.”

Despite the few allegations of dishonest attorneys operating in Barbados, he said the majority of lawyers are doing good work.

“We have people out there who have been working for years with no stains on their reputation. We have people struggling to make a living and doing good work. We have people representing poor people, doing pro bono work. It is a shame that a few have acted in such a way as to cast the stain on all. The ones you hear about is not an accurate representation of the vast majority of lawyers.

Those who are in the judicial system, the system will take care of them. I trust that the judges will hear their cases fairly and not penalize them for being lawyers or favour them for being lawyers and that they will get what they deserve, whether that is a conviction or an acquittal.”

At the ceremony, 61 attorneys were sworn in and Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson urged the attorneys to follow the rules of ethics which they learn in law school.

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