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Jul 21, 2017

Attorney Reminds that Denial of Bail Should Not Be Used as Punishment

Richard “Dickie” Bradley

For those upset with the decision of the court, Bradley offered a timely reminder that bail is not a privilege, but a right, and that a person’s liberty cannot be taken from them except in extreme and documented circumstances.


Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney for David Doehm

“Bail is not to be used to punish a person before a trial is held. Those are two very fundamental legal principles. It is all too easy to be denying persons their liberty, which as many judges have observed, creates major problems – you are not with your family, the children are all over the place for a year or two; you lose your job; all of those things happen when we lock up somebody when we have no reason to lock them up. I want to tell you that under the Constitution of Belize, even persons accused of homicide are entitled to bail. This is a dreadful and unacceptable situation in Belize, where there are over five hundred people in prison that can’t reach a trial, hundreds of whom are accused of very serious offenses. And clearly it’s a matter for the judge to decide whether a person who is accused of taking a life, should be out here when he himself or she can also lose their lives by vengeful family members. So those two fundamental principles, you would have heard me say to His Lordship, I want to start by re-emphasizing how important it is for a person’s liberty to be treated with the seriousness it deserves. At the Magistrate’s Court, I was the first to concede that a charge of cruelty to a child is a very serious charge, because all of us as adults, and I am a parent, we must look after our children; and even hold ourselves responsible for our neighbor’s children. That is not a ground to lock up somebody until 2019 when the trial may take place.  That can’t be fair.”

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