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1 In 20 Murders End In Conviction

By PACO NUNEZ

Tribune News Editor

DESPITE police stating that they solve the majority of killings that take place in the Bahamas, a new Inter-American Development Bank study reveals that over a recent four-year period, only one in every 20 murder suspects was convicted.

A 2011 study by Royal Bahamas Police Force researcher Sgt Chaswell Hanna stated that 73 per cent of murders from 2005 –2009 were “solved”.

However, the IDB report says that over the exact same period, only 5.1 per cent of these cases resulted in a conviction.

This means that of the 349 murders reported during this period, no one was held responsible for at least 330 of them.

The report does not say whether the low rate of conviction is to be blamed on faulty police investigations, or the long-standing failures of the judicial system.

It notes that the “limited institutional capacity of the justice system” is contributing to a “recent dramatic increase in incidents of violence and crime that remain unresolved amid an increasing judicial backlog and a diminishing number of convictions.”

The IDB report also reveals that within the last five years, 305 accused murderers have been released on bail.

“This situation can partly explain why the Bahamas, although superior to the regional average, has recently shown a marked decline in its values for the World Governance Indicator related to the Rule of Law,” it said.

The report was commissioned by the government as part of a pilot project for the relaunch of the Swift Justice Initiative (SJI), initially created by the first Christie Administration and continued in an altered version by the FNM until the 2012 election. The IDB requested a $250,000 fee for its assistance.

Despite the efforts of successive governments over the past decade, according to the IDB’s analysis, Bahamian courts continue to be “plagued by the lengthy turnaround time associated with the generation of ‘records or proceedings’.”

To make records more accurate, timely and available to all parties, the IDB recommends converting this system to “digitalised technology.”

The objectives of the project are: to improve court reporting and transcript generation through the introduction of a digital recording system; to support the implementation of an Integrated Justice Information System with an efficient business model for calendaring court dates; and to contribute to the reduction of the backlog of pending cases at the Supreme Court level.

Comments

Guy 5 years ago

There just must be a lack of political will to fix this issue. These statistics are staggering, to say the least.

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John 5 years ago

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: Strange that this message was screeched and screamed and shouted in this media for nearly 3 years and no one seem to have listened. But as soon as a foreign entity says it, the media seems to have borrowed ink and front page space to blast the message. 1. When the murder rate kept increasing, under both the FNM and PLP government, it was said that since the number of murders was over 100 and the number of murder cases tried each year was less than 20, the number of persons getting off on murder was more than the persons being tried for it. 2. I t was also stated that the number of persons getting convictions for murder was even less, despite the police claiming a 76% detection rate since a good percentage of persons tried for murder was set free. 3. It was also stated that the number of persons out on ball was increasing since the number of persons going to trial was less than 1/3 of those who were committing murder. 4 When "Da Bell' and others stated that only 80 (EIGHTY) persons were in jail for murder, at first the validity of this number was questioned and, once they confirmed that onlyeighty persons were in jail for murder, it was concluded that more persons who committed murder were out of jail, either on bail or running free like birds, free of murder charges for killing someone. Strong 5. Most important of all, it was stated that unless and until the number of persons charged with murder, rape and other serious crime at least matched, if not out numbered the number of persons committing these crimes, there would not be any decrease in the crime rate. That was when the suggestion of additional criminal courts, promised to come on stream in January came up.

“Rape is a more heinous crime than murder since the rape victim dies throughout the period she lives.”

― Amit Abraham

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

“There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” ― Ayn Rand

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John 5 years ago

Even when police went on 12 hour shifts the opinion here was this alone would not help curb crime and unless there was some corresponding increase in prosecutions the 12 hour police shifts would nit help. But for a few weeks after they were implemented there was a lull in crime and many in charge including the minister of national security and "da Bell" were screaming at the top of their lungs they they had found the fountain of youth. But the lull in crime was short lived and violent crime rared its ugly head again, this time with a clear vengence. The murder rate is matching or passing last years'..no need for bill boards for everyone knows.

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Reality_Check 5 years ago

And it is wondered why so few Bahamian graduates from colleges/universities abroad return to the Bahamas.......their own families are telling them it ain't safe to do so!

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HolandObserver 5 years ago

The IDB statistics are a disgrace!!!!

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countryfirst 5 years ago

When you have so many MP's as lawyers it is not in their best interest to update our legal system because they will have less clients and make less money this is the main problem.

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lucaya 5 years ago

@ countryfirst- I've been saying this for sometime now, we really need to look into this deeper,it is truly mind boggling, until we decide to take a firm stance on this matter we will NEVER see a decline in the statistics,I'm so glad my MP in no lawyer,but there is need for more open and frank discussion on this,PEOPLE wake up...

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SP 5 years ago

Both PLP & FNM are total failures in every sphere imaginable. They have failed in every area bar none!

Now that the Bahamas is basically owned by the finance man (IDB, World Bank, IMF) and they are watching every move government make, we can finally get rid of the corrupt PLP & FNM Sunshine Boys cartel.

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John 5 years ago

Like I have also said numerous times before,"they are trying to re-populate the Bahamas" They have no plans for indigenous Bahamians in the new Bahamas because they don't want him to have ownership and share in the wealth on the new nation they have planned. and since Bahamians will not work for slave wages (except for Btc phone card vendors) they do not want to hire Bahamians. And they lie with a straight face and say Bahamians lazy and don't want to work. Illegal Haitians stand a better chance of getting employed than some Bahamians.The crime rate in this country, especially murders , Bahamians killing Bahamians, is no accident. So sit back and watch our country get t'ief right in front of our eyes! So sit back and watch it happen or get up off your ass and do something! MANY OF OUR LEADERS have on blinders so they cannot see.

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banker 5 years ago

The foreign metal detector consultants can hardly wait for the legislation. Nice to see a post without your Tourette's syndrome kicking in.

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JohnDoe 5 years ago

@Rory, this is a good one and an imaginative approach. I particularly like section 4 of the new penal code because this enabling environmental and cultural attitude and condition is a primary correlative factor with respect to our worsening crime situation.

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John 5 years ago

Dumb to say the least! AS I SAID BEFORE the doors to most cells at Fox Hill should be swinging open and the cells empty. There are few real criminal Bahamians. The persons in charge over the past three decades dropped the ball (they were dancing to the tune of the paid piper) Once they fix this the Bahamas and Bahamians will return to normalcy.

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JohnDoe 5 years ago

@John, at the risk of asking, if the persons in fox hill are not "real criminal Bahamians" then just who are they? Or are you saying that they are not "real criminals" because they should not be held responsible for their actions or behavior. That is, the persons who are "dancing to the tune of the paid piper", as you state, are responsible and should be blamed for their behavior.

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John 5 years ago

What i am saying is that many persons get involved in crime because the system is broken and crime without punishment seems to be the norm. To others they feel the need either to protect themselves or to take revenge for something that was done to them or some family member. I am not saying this is right. What I am saying is to fix the system. Restore swift justice and the psuedo criminal and the excess crime will disappear.

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JohnDoe 5 years ago

I see your point! I would agree that there are many different types of crimes and many different reasons people commit crimes. I would also agree that we do have a rule of law issue in this country where certain law breakers seem to be above the law, given preferential treatment and/or a free pass and where certain victims receive more attention and resources than others. Also our legal and judicial system and out law enforcement institutional capacity must step up if we are to turn the corner against crime.

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nationbuilder 5 years ago

So, the Tribune doesn't know that "solved" cases, by the RBPF standard has nothing to do with convictions, but with the arrest and arraignment of persons for an alleged crime??

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Bahamianpride 4 years, 12 months ago

This report tells me nothing we don't already know. Beating confessions out of people, intimadation, and incompetence results in bad cases even before these matters get presented for trail. The result is the same harden criminals running around free on the street. It is very hard to convict on incompetence and brutality. They have however loaded the prisons with petty theives and quality of life offenders because these cases are easy and the actors powerless, poor individuals.

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