|Hall: Large numbers of accused on bail reflects failures in judiciary|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jun 20, 2012
Former Chairman of the National Advisory Council on Crime Bishop Simeon Hall said yesterday the large number of murder suspects on bail is a “miserable reflection” on the legal fraternity and called on the government to rectify the failures in the system.
Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson revealed on Monday that more than 400 people charged with murder in the past 10 years are on bail.
But she said the government does not in fact know exactly how many people are out on bail.
“Indications are at the moment that there are more than 400 out on bail having been accused of murder or charged with murder,” said Maynard-Gibson while contributing to debate on the 2012/2013 budget in the Senate. “More than 400 since 2002,”
Hall said in a statement: “Some lawyers benefit from [the] wicked judicial system.
“The existence of some 400 plus persons out on bail and the abuse of the system by some lawyers, reflect miserably on those persons responsible for it.
“The legal fraternity must lead the country out of the judicial quagmire into which it has sunk. In the last 10 years, both political parties played the name and blame game, while both bear some culpability.”
Hall added that some lawyers are comfortable with things being as they are so that they can benefit economically.
“Minister Maynard-Gibson’s description on Monday about lawyers shopping for loopholes in the system proves my point,” he said.
Hall added that he hopes this government has the will to turn things around.
“Each and every new attorney general points to the failures in the system, most times leaving it as they met it,” he said.
“I am hopeful it does not happen this time. I continue to maintain that the criminal culture will hardly change while there are powerful persons who benefit from it.”
Hall pointed out that addressing the problem of large numbers of people on bail may require constitutional changes.
“Then who better to lead the way than the legal minds that framed it,” he said.
Maynard-Gibson, who is also the minister of legal affairs, said her ministry is working to determine the exact number of accused murderers on bail.
"We are making every effort to get to the bottom of the situation,” she said.
"At the moment we have to aggressively address woefully inadequate record keeping. This is because the inadequate record keeping produces unreliable results."
The senator added that her ministry is also working to address the loopholes in the bail system.