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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 16TH SEPTEMBER, 2014
JENSEN LA VENDE
Catholic priest Fr Clyde
Harvey yesterday expressed
alarm at the 38 police killings
for the year, labelling them as
"extra-judicial killings" as he
delivered the homily at the
inter-faith service for the cer-
emonial opening of the
2014/2015 law term.
Admitting at the Holy Trinity
Cathedral, Port-of-Spain, he
was "steping out of his crease"
Harvey said the matter was
cause for concern.
"Over 30 of our citizens have
been killed by police officers,"
Harvey told the congregation.
He added: "These have been
extra-judicial killings. Let s
name it for what it is. I think
all of us have to feel something
"I feel a tremendous sympa-
thy, even empathy for the police
officers and one of the fright-
ening nightmarish thoughts I
had the other night is that there
are 30-something police offi-
cers who are responsible for
"Or is it there are a few police
officers who are responsible for
30-something deaths, which
means that some of them are
toting three, four or five ghosts.
"If that is so, we have a prob-
lem, a serious problem and all
of us are responsible and that
affects the law because people
on the ground know what is
His reference to people on
ground was viewed by many
in the audience as a reference
to the fact that as a priest he
deals with some of the crim-
inal element in his work with
in the east Port-of-Spain
community and other crime
hotspot areas and would, as a
result of that, get information
to which other members of
the public would not be privy.
According to USLegal.com,
an extra-judicial killing is
defined as a deliberated killing
not authorised by a previous
judgment pronounced by a reg-
ularly constituted court which
is recognised as indispensable
by civilised people.
Harvey said when people lose
respect for law and order in
that context they lose respect
for all, including judges, mag-
istrates, attorneys and every-
thing that has to do with the
He told the gathering, includ-
ing President Anthony Car-
mona, Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar, acting Com-
missioner of Police Stephen
Williams and other dignitaries,
that they had a responsibility
to be sensitive about these
things and to do everything in
their power to address and cor-
He said correction could only
be done in a context of truth
and not of lies. "Some of the
greatest enemies of the State
are those who manipulate the
truth for their own ends," Har-
Chief Justice Ivor Archie yesterday criticised
defence attorneys who use delaying tactics, saying
they are partly to blame for the slow pace of the
criminal justice system.
Archie made the comment during his address
at the ceremonial opening yesterday of the
2014/2015 law term at the Hall of Justice, Port-
Describing the current state of the criminal
justice system as grim, Archie said there were some
defence attorneys who contributed to unnecessary
delays in trials by forcing prosecutors to bring
minor witnesses to court to testify.
"I have no apology for directly addressing those
attorneys who continue to waste time by insisting
that the prosecution call every witness in person,
knowing that they have no cross-examination but
hoping perhaps that something fortuitous will turn
up," Archie said.
Labelling the tactic as simply "bad lawyering,"
Archie said: "Moreover, it is wasteful of judicial
time and resources, disrespectful to witnesses and
jurors, irresponsible and immoral."
He said last year s statistics showed there were
fewer criminal cases disposed of in the High Court
compared to the previous year. As a result of that,
he said, the Judiciary was considering new Criminal
Procedure Rules which would assist in reducing
the significant backlog of cases.
Once implemented, the rules would define a
clear structure for case management of criminal
cases, while introducing strick penalties for lawyers
who caused unjustified delays, he said.
Similar rules, which revolutionised the civil
courts and led to a significant reduction of its
backlog, were introduced almost a decade ago, he
Archie also reiterated his call to Government to
introduce juryless trials, a measure which he initially
proposed during last year s address.
"We simply cannot go on this way. I continue
to plead for serious consideration of whether the
system of trial by jury should be retained at least
in its present form. What is clear to me is that it
cannot work as currently deployed," the CJ said.
He also suggested video recording of police inter-
views with suspects, saying they could negate the
need for lengthy pre-trial hearings over the admis-
sibility of confession statements.
"Video taping of interviews also serves to protect
the rights of persons in custody by ensuring that
proper protocols are followed," Archie said.
He said the situation in the magistrates courts
was particularly troublesome with statistics showing
that of the 125,166 matters filed, only 70 per cent
were disposed of.
See CJ's speech on Pages A10-A16
CJ hits lawyers
who waste time
Harvey's thoughts on police killings:
Cops toting 3, 4 ghosts
In the photo on Page A14 of September 12, Lou
Lyons of the Freetown Collective was wrongly
identified. We apologise to Mr Lyons for the error.
GETTING IT RIGHT
Harvey also called on the legal
luminaries to reflect on the
legal system and whether it
had brought a better quality of
life not only to themselves but
to the country.
He also called on the law
fraternity not to be blinded by
the pursuit of wealth but the
pursuit of justice for all.
He asked: "Is the law a source
of life or a harbinger of death?
Does law give life to you?
Have you ever laughed at the
law or wept at it?
"If all you do is simply practise
without that challenging that
ought to go on, without that
pouring of your energy into
the resolution of the issues in
such a way that you feel the
pain of the moments in your
practice, something is wrong."
He added: "In this moment
there is a need for a
revisioning of all our
institutions so that we might
be able to meet the
challenges. "I ask you to
commit yourselves to the
clarification of values, to
commit yourselves to living
those values even if you do
not see the fruits of that now
and in living it, I pray that God
will help you to sow seeds
with the need of the ongoing
transformation of this land we
know and love so much."
Approached for a comment
on Harvey's statement
afterwards, Williams said he
would do so today, adding that
yesterday was "Chief Justice
Ivor Archie's day."
LEGAL FRATERNITY CHALLENGE
Members of the T&T Coast Guard march along Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, during yesterday's ceremonial opening of the 2014/2015
law term. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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