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Jan 6, 2011

P.M. speaks about Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act

Dean Barrow

This week, two known criminal attorneys, Dickie Bradley and Anthony Sylvestre raised concerns over the ramifications the recently passed amendments to the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act will have on citizens.  Both Bradley and Sylvestre say that the nine amendments are so draconian and sweeping that they infringe on the rights of persons arrested for serious offenses, ranging from unlawful carnal knowledge to firearm offenses. On Wednesday the Prime Minister weighed in saying he was not bothered about how the law has evolved.

Dean Barrow

“Did they go to the House Committee meeting to raise their concerns or they’re trying to grandstand for the press?”

Marion Ali

“Sir, I’m not aware that they did do that but they’re asking for consultation before these kinds of amendments are done and they say that it’s a number of attorneys from within the Bar that have raised these concerns.”

Dean Barrow

“Well again, I am going to say quite frankly that I am not impressed by their concerns.  The situation where facts that are peculiarly within a defendant’s knowledge, the law can say you must prove those facts is time-honored, is hallowed. Look at the controlled drugs legislation which also says that if illegal drugs are found on premises or in a vehicle, that all the occupants of the premises or all the occupants of the vehicle are liable to be charged.  If you don’t do it that way then you have everybody in the vehicle saying “dah noh fi me, dah fu the next one”.  How in those circumstances, if the police were to select one person to charge, how would the police ever be able to prove its case?  So the fact that now as with the drugs legislation, the law says the police are able to charge all the occupants, thus putting pressure on the person who’s really guilty to accept his guilt in order to allow the innocent people, if the others are innocent and had no knowledge of what was taking place, to go free I think is the way to go.  You can’t have it both ways.  People know that we’ve got to make every effort to stem this rising crime tide.  When we employ the kinds of tools that the new legislation gives you can’t jump up and bawl and protest and in fact try to roll back that sort of an effort.  The larger good, the good of the majority, must take precedence over the good of a few and in the circumstances I have no apologies to make about the way that law has been rolled out and now passed.”

Marion Ali

“But doesn’t it infringe on the rights of those who are innocent? Who are kept in custody and who are remanded?”

Dean Barrow

“No, no, not at all, not at all.  You are entitled to charge everyone – they must put pressure on the person who is guilty to accept responsibility.  I have seen it happen just recently where somebody said somebody said my mother is in the vehicle, my family, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve.  And I’m saying the alternative is to have these cases go by the board because how will you ever be able to show which of those is the guilty person if you don’t charge all?  So if these lawyers feel that somehow some kind of constitutional right is infringed then let them go to the court and argue that and we will of course abide by whatever the court says but we are positive that it does no such thing, and I’m saying we have the example, the precedent, of the controlled drugs legislation.”

The amendments came into law in December, 2010 and are only now being circulated. It is government’s way of putting a lid on crime.

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15 Responses for “P.M. speaks about Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act”

  1. rootsman says:

    I can somehow understand the reasons behind such a law but would hate to be a taxi driver picking up a passenger and was stopped and find out that that there is drugs in his taxi and he did not put it there what about riding on a bus, who gets charge the bus driver and all the passengers? or does this law not apply to public transportation, guess there will be no more picking up of hitch hikers, obviously some clarifications are needed here, would have been interesting to get his opinion on the flare gun and the bullet proof vest portion of this law which I find to be very stupid since I feel that there is a need to wear a bullet proof vest when visiting Belize.

  2. Consern says:

    What happen if someone maliciously put drugs in someone’s car, and he does not know and another person happen to be in that car who has no knowledge that drugs was planted in that car? Why would any of those person take the rap for something for which they are both innocent? The same goes for fire arms.Someone come to my house that I have an illegal fire arms or amunition(s).
    from the very begining the police know that that the person does not live at that house, only there on a short visit, why should the visitor be arrested? The crimminals who want a gun get guns to terrorize the law abiding citizens that the police cannot adiquately protect, so why not let the citizens have guns and teach them how to use it properly? Unfortunately this problems with guns will not go away any time soon. Anyone who think that it can be legislated away is living in lala land. Even some in law enforcement find it convenient to use it to build up their low self esteem.Higher levels of spiritual conciousness together with meaningful opportunites is the only real cure for this run away violent society.

    .

  3. Maria Marshall says:

    Well done Prime Minister, crime is a big issue in our country and it’s good to see you take a firm hand of the matter.

  4. REGGIE says:

    The Barrow and Williams law will not be change.It hit close to home now the PM decide to make things hard for the law abiding Citizen.I hope he can do the same thing for the ferry owner in Miami today.make it happen. Our Country is heading down the road like Haiti.

  5. ceo says:

    one way to avoid being charged is to not become involved in crime! This may be too simple for Dickie to underrstand. I grew up in Belize and have lived else where in the world and have never been charged in a court of law for any crimes: I think who ever are involved with that mess should be charged to the fullest.

  6. Justice says:

    I am actually agreeing with the PM on this one. It is most embarrassing to see where Belize is rated in rearsd to crime level and something must bedone to stop it from going further. I am disgusted at Dickie Bradley for representing the same persons who are dragging down Belize more. It might be his way of earning money but I call it tainted money. How can he sleep at night?

  7. PRINCE MICHAELS says:

    Well said Mr. Prime Minister sir! What u said absolutely makes a lot of sense indeed. Many times we have seen these very situation where groups or gangs are busted with drugs or illegal weapons however no wants to accept blame for it. Its human nature to want to blame someone else for one’ s wrong doings. This law would put a stop to all the guessing games when a police busts a group of people with anything illegal. Once busted EVERYONE involved or present at the scene or inside the vehicle should be charged and prosecuted and if they were involved then those persons would be given a fair trial to prove their innocence. I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with this new law.

  8. Elgin Martinez says:

    Dickie and Sylvester views are not not the views of every Belizean.

  9. BELIZEANGYPSY says:

    ISN’T DICKIE BRADLEY A DEFENCE LAWYER, HENCE THE WORD DEFENCE PEOPLE. WHY SHOULDN’T HE TAKE CASES THAT HE’S HIRED FOR? THE MAN IS GOOD AT DEFENDING AND WINNING CASES, THE BLAME SHOULD BE ON THE JURIST AND THE MAGISTRATES WHEN HIS CLIENTS GETS OFF.

  10. louisville,ky says:

    Concern…..Out of one side of your mouth you said,”why not let the citizens have guns and teach them how to use it”. And out of the other side you opined,” higher level of spiritual consciousness togather with meaningful opportunities is the only cure for this run away violent society.”Now, make up your mind and tell us, which is it . The guns or the roses.

  11. orlando says:

    well done P.M no entertain those two criminals. if u da wa law abiding citizen u no have nothing to worry. i dont know why Dicky and Sylvester d worry because the P.M is given more bread to eat as u all charged for person arrested not for the charge police gave the person. More defendants more bread for u all . dont be a fool

  12. Earl Grey says:

    THE BAR ASSOCIATION NEEDS TO STEP UP AND CHALLENGE THESE DRACONIAN MEASURES.

    ANY OF US CAN GET CAUGHT IN THIS ……………..then we have to CALL TRICKY DICKIE.

    EVERY BELIZEAN NEEDS TO OWN A COPY OF………THE BELIZE CONSTITUTION.

  13. BZNinCALI says:

    Dean, I’ll help you with the name. Tillette, he was arrested, pled guilty & is doing his time. Explain to Magistrate Margaret Gabb McKenzie that our criminals are not having trouble understanding the charges, accept a guilty plea when it is offered & don’t clog up the court.

    To protect their drugs, people have guns, to get money for their guns addicts have used guns. The court just set a woman free because she said that was not her house, let alone her drugs & she didn’t even have Dickie arguing her case. If a cook makes enough money to sponsor a second home, we are in the wrong profession. We usually know which friends & family members are criminals, we have chewed on worthless parents on this forum, we all wondered where the adults were when the Reyes girl from Sadie Vernon was killed 2 months ago in her own home by her friend. If these law now give the adults permission to stop covering for their worthless children & relatives for fear of prosecution, so be it.

    Don’t cry for Dickie, he won’t run out of clients.

  14. Leo says:

    Draconian measures you say ?? tell that to the Mothers who lost their Sons, the wife who lost their husbands, the children who lost their fathers,the sisters and brothers who lost their brothers, the uncles, the nephews that was lost due to rampant murders. Bradley/Sylvester go to hell!!

  15. BZNinCALI says:

    Leo, I agree with you 100 percent, A correction to the second part of my sentence in the second paragraph, to get their drugs, addicts have used guns.

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