Police Commissioner, Gary Griffith is calling for the laws to be amended to include kidnapping, terrorism, rape and attempted murder as non-bailable offences.
In a release on Saturday, Griffith said “At a time when the nation is grieving and frustrated due to the death of a young lady, some have made a desperate attempt to divert attention, as to the real cause in the collapse of the criminal justice system.
He said “A few defence attorneys recently presented a red herring, by stating that it is due to the failure of the Police to be ready to commence the cases, as the cause for these monsters to be back out on the street.
“This is false and misleading. These same attorneys have blamed the non-appearance in court of police officers for the dismissal of cases. Over the past two years, there has been a 93 percent improvement of police officers attending court,” he said.
Griffith pointed out that the job of the TTPS is to investigate, arrest, and charge such elements, in the expectation that the criminal justice system keeps them in prison.
Certain defence attorneys, he said, have a totally opposite job, as their responsibility is to get these same characters back out onto the streets within hours, using the system of bail.
“The death of Andrea Bharatt has opened the Pandora’s Box to expose what I have been stating for years, which is that the scales of justice have been tilted towards benefiting the criminal element rather than the law abiding citizen, and it continues to be tilted even more, when it is now legal to be a gang member, hence making organized crime more effective. The failure to have a Bail Amendment Bill passed, to the point that someone can have nine assault rifles in his possession, which can kill over 500 persons in seconds, but our courts and certain politicians see it justified that someone like this, has a right to be back out on the streets via bail being given” Griffith said.
The top COP said this latest incident yet again exposes the flaws in the abuse of bail being given.
“In contrast to the desperate attempt by a defence attorney, the Police are not the final decision-makers as to whether bail ought to be granted or denied. The police object where it is necessary and in consideration of why, is set out in the Bail Act which gives the power to Courts to deny bail or to make it extremely difficult for these criminals to access bail.
That is strictly for the Magistrates to decide.”
“Five different Magistrates at different times, each approved bail for this individual, to allow him back onto the streets even after seeing the number of charges, some of which were similar in nature, the seriousness of the offences, and the threat to the victims.
He said “We have a system whereby the courts have set a precedent, that unless there is a law to prevent bail based on the offence[which is presently only murder], they have now seen it fit, that anyone who turns up, must be given bail, and there seems to be no real consideration of previous convictions or pending charges, to determine whether bail should be denied.”
“The easy access to bail is also a matter of concern, as persons charged for serious offences such as rape, attempted murder, kidnapping, continued gender-based violence, or possession of assault weapons, are given bail at times of a mere $5,000, hence making it easy for them to acquire and then be released.”
Griffith said this has also caused many victims not to report crimes or attend court to testify, as they are aware that if kidnapped or raped, the perpetrator would be released and can then target them as they are easily released on bail.
He said “Our failed criminal justice system makes it a firm position that anyone, regardless of what crime they commit, other than murder, when charged, are granted bail, apparently based on the perception that there is no law stating that bail should be denied.
My point is that whilst bail is a right, the law contemplates the denial in the Bail Act and is clearly not being put to good use, nor is the strategy to grant bail in a manner that is not easily accessed. ”
“One must also look at the character before the court and if there is a track record of him being a repeat offender, showing his previous charges, then the onus is for those responsible to deny bail or put it at a very high threshold, based on the offence and the history of pervious charges, whether it be for rape, kidnapping, terrorism, or assault.”
He said the Police acquire evidence to be used when the case commences, which are two totally different things.
“This individual, of his 70 previous charges, 45 are still pending. If this was not strong grounds to deny bail on his last charges, then I do not know what is. But then when such persons are allowed back out to commit further crime, the Police would be blamed for a high crime rate.
It is for the court to look at the criminal history of those charged, and the possible dangers to society, to ascertain if bail should be given or not, and nothing to do with the Police being ready to start the case.
“Our criminal justice system has yet again failed another law-abiding citizen, and those who object the most to my comments, are those who benefit the most, when such creatures can be given bail to go back out on the streets to further cause pain, grief, and death.
The Magistrates seem reluctant to prevent bail unless it is made law, so what is needed is to make charges of kidnapping, terrorism, rape, and attempted murder, to become non-bailable offences.”
Griffith said “Everyone should support this, except of course those charged for such offences and those attorneys who represent them.”