Monday 23 November, 2020

PM urges lawmen to make haste with gun-related and murder cases

Attorney General, Dale Marshall and Prime Minister Mia Mottley unveil the plaque at the opening of the Worthing/Hastings Police Station.

Attorney General, Dale Marshall and Prime Minister Mia Mottley unveil the plaque at the opening of the Worthing/Hastings Police Station.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley has challenged the judicial system to close criminal cases within six to nine months of the accused being charged. 

Barbados' Prime Minister contested that there is no excuse for gun-related and murder-related charges to exceed the nine-month time frame given the system’s recent upgrades. 

The country's leader was speaking at the official unveiling of the amalgamated Worthing/Hastings Police Station which cost $14 million, when she pointed out that $10 million has been invested in the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to enhance its capabilities and the criminal courts have increased from two to five. 

“We have agreed that there must be an aggressive approach to the hearing of murder cases and gun cases in order to let people know that there will be consequences to your actions, and this notion that persons can be on bail for murder is so repugnant to me that I can’t even begin to understand how a person who is on bail for murder can be charged for another murder.

"I speak not as a defence attorney but rather as a defender of this nation and we have to recognize that in order to be fair to the defendant, what is required is quick justice.

“The Government has made available the resources such that there is no excuse for us not to be able to turn around a murder case and a serious criminal case particularly a gun-related crime within six to nine months of the charging of the accused person,” Mottley said. 

She continued by urging lawmen and the judicial system to handle cases in a timely and efficient manner. “The obligation is on the state through the police and the prosecutors to bring the evidence quickly that they have used as the basis for charging before a court for it to be tested by the lawyers and for the people to render their verdict one way or the other,” Mottley added.

The Prime Minister went on to insist that cases in the Appeals Court should be tackled with swiftness, emphasizing that the two appellate processes shouldn’t be more than 12 to 15 months. 

“If we can aspire and achieve that, I have a very strong instinct that tells me that when people see that persons who have been brazen . . . will be held accountable immediately, then I suspect there is likely to be a change of heart among those thinking of getting themselves involved in foolishness,” Mottley emphasized. 

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