Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 27th 2016 Contents news A5
Tuesday, December 27, 2016 guardian.co.tt
6.1500 6.6254 6.7993
4.6326 4.8764 5.2665
7.7096 8.1154 8.7557
6.5878 6.9345 7.4893
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2.2339 2.4281 2.6248
2.7166 ****** 3.5196
for DECEMBER 23RD, 2016
AG rolls out plan for smoother criminal justice system...
The details of a national pros-
ecutions structure which entails
tracing court data so as to ensure
a smoother and better coordi-
nated criminal justice system
is expected to be made public
"We are taking the backlog and
prepare them for trial and then we
are going to establish a single unit
to actually manage this. This is very
similar to what the British calls a
"You have to have national pros-
ecutions in T&T coordinated so the
police, the DPP and the judiciary
need to have management for all
the prosecutions that are done but
until you realise where the bulk is
then you can't pour the resources,"
Saying the management of State
prosecutions has been in a state of
"non-functionality" due to lack of
structure and resources for far too
long, Al-Rawi said data would show
where the prosecutorial focus need-
ed to be placed.
"The exercise is ongoing and
would be completed in stages be-
ginning in January and involves
mapping what the backlog and
prosecution look like in the mag-
istrates' court, High Court, Police
Service and the DPP's office.
"The figures from the judiciary
are nearly complete, the figures from
the DPP are now crystallised and the
figures from the Police Service are
now being formalised," the AG said
adding that there has not been ef-
fective coordination on this.
Some 34 vacancies, across the
board, were expected to be filled
DPP's office starting from next
Al-Rawi said ninety five per cent
of prosecutions at the magistrates'
court were conducted by the police
while DPP officers did five per cent.
"Who manages that? How is that
organised? This is a huge question
and that is why we have to track
the load so that management from
a national prosecutions structure
can be done.
" I am working on the creation of a
national prosecutions structure be-
cause unless you manage the 95 per
cent that the police does then the
system goes no where, " the AG said.
Saying that the "measurables"
were unknown Al-Rawi said data
would be made public in the first
quarter of next year.
"Right now we're talking about
crime but there is no raw data. Does
anybody in this country know how
many reports are received at a sta-
tion on a monthly basis? How many
of them move towards the magis-
trates' court or the High Court?
"In other words what are the re-
ports verses charge verses convic-
tion figures really look like? Nobody
knows what that figure really looks
like and that figure is going to be
made public very shortly through
the revelation of statistics in the
criminal justice system at the mag-
istrate court, High Court and very
importantly through statistics from
the Police Service," Al-Rawi said.
In outlining some of the factors
revealed by the data collated thus
far the AG said it has revealed that
delays in the criminal justice sys-
tem have been caused by trial by
jury, preliminary inquiry (PI), lack
of resources at the DPP's office ,
availability of courtroom, witnesses
Civil laws to deal with evidence
was also another factor.
He said there must be a perfor-
mance indicator to determine how
efficiently the Police Service was
using its monies from Government,
adding that a lot of the frustration
pervading T&T was a sense of hope-
lessness felt by citizens.
"People say, 'I will not report this
because this will not be dealt with.'
So let's figure out what it really is,"
He added that legislation to com-
pletely abolish preliminary inquiries
was already prepared and work was
taking place on a public defender
"So once your counsel is unavail-
able you will be appointed a counsel
who is competent but that has to
be an amendment to reorganisa-
tion of the Legal Aid and Advisory
Authority. We are working with the
British Government and the public
defenders office out of England on
that particular approach," Al-Rawi
He said he had already drafted a
document regarding "judge only
trials by election" which was ex-
pected to be made public next year
and which the AG also described as
a "very contentious issue."
"Meaning you will have the choice
of judge only or not which is a jury
less position because there is such
stout resistance to that position but
in our view it is something which is
beneficial to the country and there-
fore we need to come forward with
data on it," Al-Rawi said.
In the first quarter of next year
video conferencing is expected to
come on stream at remand as op-
posed to transporting prisoners back
and forth every 28 or 17 days as the
case maybe, he added.
Too much anger, drugs, guns---RC Archbishop
There is a lot of anger in the country
coupled with too many drugs and guns
being easily available.
These were among the concerns of Roman
Catholic Archbishop, Joseph Harris, amid
calls by Anglican Bishop Rev Claude Berkley
and Rev Daniel Teelucksingh, of the Pres-
byterian Church, that the family unit must
be restored in light of all the social ills and
spiralling murder rate sweeping the society.
"One murder is bad enough and 400 plus
murders is awful. We can't and should not be
living that way," Harris appealed yesterday.
He said it appeared that T&T was "walk-
ing in darkness" and was yet to see the light
of Jesus Christ as violence seemed to be the
order of the day.
"The reading is that people who walk in
darkness have seen a great light. We appear
to be walking in darkness but the light is the
light of Jesus the Christ. We have tried all
kinds of 'isms'
...communism and socialism
and capitalism and none of it is helping us
as a way of life.
"We have to move away from the 'isms'
and try Christianity," Harris urged.
He said the values of Christianity also in-
cluded the same values of Hinduism, Islam
and other religions, which were so urgently
needed to restore peace to the land.
"We have to get back to those values which
Jesus Christ came to teach us," Harris said.
On the issue of encouraging people to
return to their respective places of wor-
ship and to pray fervently he said religious
leaders also needed to do a better job to en-
sure this, adding, "We are not doing it well
He said many still did not understand
the reason for the Christmas holiday but
if the values of Jesus were internalised and
practised the country would be better off.
On whether the Catholic Church would
be celebrating midnight mass, especially at
the Port-of-Spain Cathedral he said this
was never done as mass was usually around
nine or ten at night.
"For a long time Catholic Churches have
been doing that. I think there is only one
Catholic Church in the north which had
midnight mass," Harris said.
On whether all Catholic Churches should
celebrate midnight mass Harris said,
"Times and circumstances had changed."
He added that he believed it was due to the
crime that this was stopped.
While delivering the sermon at the
Christmas Eve vigil, Holy Trinity Cathe-
dral, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain,
on Saturday night Berkley had lamented
the many social ills including the runaway
murder rate, contracting economy, domestic
violence and child abuse.
Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Harris
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi
Teelucksingh, a former Independent senator, had
compared the war zone of Aleppo, Syria and the "vi-
cious" truck attack on a Christmas village in Berlin,
Germany to the "killing fields" of T&T where the
murder rate has already surpassed that of 2015 and
where families of missing loved ones were grieving
"Our notorious killing fields in Trinidad and Tobago
is as vicious and as deadly as last week's (Christmas)
market (truck) bombing in Berlin," Teelucksingh had
said, and noted that if international news agencies
such as CNN and the BBC were to cover Trinidad and
Tobago, "we would make more news than Aleppo and
Berlin. If they were here, we would be making the
world news just as any war torn country in the Mid-
dle East or any country in Europe that is terrorised.
This was the sum spent from 2006
to 2016 solely on the Police Service.
But Al-Rawi said it was evident that
the flourishing narco-trade was the
main driver behind criminality.
He said the police commissioner has
the sole responsibility for managing
the service, adding it was only he
could "fire and fire with meaningful
impact" under the law.
"The focus upon crime is the removal
of the profits of crime and the money
which sustains it has to be removed,"
the AG reiterated.
But on whether the country had seen
value for money from the Police Ser-
vice Al-Rawi said this entity was just
"But you had $21 billion solely for the
Police Service...what did you get for
it? How many complaints were dealt
with?" Al-Rawi questioned.
$21 BILLION SPENT
ON POLICE SERVICE
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