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Jan 24, 2020

Factual Guilt Versus Legal Guilt

Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington

As to the firing of Longsworth for the allegations made in the Auditor General Report, the Foreign Minister offered a lawyerly explanation, saying that it is for the court to determine guilt, tantamount to the PM’s well-known statement on factual guilt and legal guilt.



Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“The practice in this parliamentary system which we pursue, the practice is that if there is appearance of impropriety on the part of any senior official, the proper thing for them to do really is to resign and maybe if they don’t want to resign then you pull the plug on them.  So it’s really a practice, but the fact that he may be relieved of his office and the like is not synonymous with guilt.  To my mind guilt is only established when the court says you are guilty, legally.  But the practice is that if you have this dark cloud hanging over your head, the society feels better if in fact you are removed from the post.  Either you are put on half pay or full pay and suspended or you’re terminated, but I don’t think that that is synonymous with guilt.  You have to go through a process and it is only when the court pronounces you guilty that in fact you can be said to be guilty.”

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