The Law Association of T&T (LATT) says if Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has evidence that attorneys are assisting criminals in their activities, he should “hasten to lay charges against these errant attorneys.”
The Association also offered advice to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who on previous occasions criticised LATT for failing to take any action against lawyers charged with criminal offences.
“The constitutional right to the presumption of innocence precludes any such precipitate action. If, however, the authorities are prepared to share with the Association the evidence which is available to support disciplinary action, the President would carry out his statutory duty to consider same.”
LATT said it is unfair to repeatedly accuse anonymous lawyers of criminal activities without taking any follow-up action and thereby to tarnish the reputation of those individual lawyers who provide their services honestly and with integrity.
“To repeat, everyone is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. The fact that a charge has been laid by police officers who no doubt believe fervently in the strength of their case is no licence for a judicial officer assuming that the allegation is true. This is why the Constitution provides for a right to be granted bail, which can only be denied under the specific circumstances set out in the Bail Act and more generally if the police provide evidence to the court that the accused is likely not to turn up for the trial or is likely to commit another offence while on bail or is likely to interfere with witnesses in the case.”
LATT added: “The Commissioner is free to criticise a judicial officer who grants bail despite evidence which establishes any one of these factors. It is, however, an unfair criticism to point simply to the seriousness of the offence as the sole basis for the repeated denigration of the judicial officer.”
Story by RISHARD KHAN