CoP attacks lawyers on bail, death penalty position

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Police Commissioner Gary Griffith – Jeff Mayers

POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith has lashed out at the Law Association for its position on automatic bail for certain offences and on the effectiveness of the death penalty to deter crime.

In a Facebook post on the commissioner’s official page on Tuesday, Griffith said his views would differ, as his duty was “to find these creatures who kill, rape and kidnap and try to remove them from society.”

Griffith accused the association of being a platform for a few defence attorneys in a public-relations campaign to “fight for the benefits of their criminal clients.”

In its statement on Monday, the association reminded that the current Bail Act already provided for the denial of bail to anyone determined to be a danger to society or likely to reoffend if given bail. It added that calls for automatic bail denial would come at the expense of denying constitutional rights and put the decision on depriving someone of their liberty into the hands of the police.

“This would be a disproportionate response and would constitute a jail sentence without a trial in an already broken criminal justice system,” it added.

It also said while resuming hangings might serve to assuage the collective need for revenge, the death penalty was not a deterrent to crime. It also said the criminals had to be caught first.

“It serves no useful purpose to advocate for same if the police are unable to find the perpetrators of the many unsolved murders in the first place and, if when charged, the accused become lost the criminal justice system for years.”

The association also defended criminal defence attorneys who have been attacked by the public because of who their clients are.

Griffith claimed it was not an “undisputed fact” that hanging did not deter crime.

“After the last hanging here, there was one murder in the next ten days. So much for ‘undisputed facts.’”

Anthony Briggs was the last person to be hanged in Trinidad and Tobago. He was executed on July 28, 1999, for the murder of a taxi driver in 1992. He was hanged just a month after the Dole Chadee gang was hanged over a three-day period.

Griffith accused the association of “conveniently ignoring the many cold-blooded killers, who are on death row, who pay these same defence attorneys big money to get them freed, to then cause more distress to law-abiding citizens.

“I ask, what research and data gathering has this Law Association done to know if hanging is a deterrent in this country, taking into consideration the last time this was done in this country?” he asked.

He also pointed fingers at “certain defence attorneys” who he said only showed concern for those charged with violent crimes but “never seem to be concerned when the most fundamental right of law-abiding citizens is lost.

“That being the right to live when their clients commit acts of violence be it rape, kidnapping or murder. This is why my views will differ (from) theirs,” he said.

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