By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
AMID renewed concern about granting bail to people suspected of committing serious offences, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said yesterday she hopes the judiciary “will do everything to prevent what appears to be judge shopping”.
Her comments followed those of Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade who expressed concern about bail on Saturday, highlighting a case where bail was granted last week to a “prolific offender” nearly a month after another judge rejected his bail request.
Mrs Maynard-Gibson said: “Although things are moving in the right direction, we feel that judges are not as determined as we would have hoped to prevent the revolving door on bail. For example, last week an accused person was admitted to bail even though another judge in November denied that person’s bail application. We remain hopeful that the judiciary will do everything to prevent what appears to be judge shopping.”
Mrs Maynard-Gibson said the person in question was previously before the court for “many matters,” including a charge of alleged abatement to murder.
“The accused person was released on bail with that offence with an ankle bracelet and committed further offences, including ones involving firearm and ammunition,” she said. “He subsequently applied for bail and that bail was refused by a judge in November who noted that the person was likely to commit another offence. In December, less than a month later, the person was back before another judge, on the very same argument and was released, the facts being the same. He was someone who committed offences while (wearing an) ankle bracelet.”
The senator added: “People want to feel the state is doing everything, for there to be efficiency in the system. The police’s frustration is that as much hard work as they do in apprehending these people, they still get out.”
Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dean also spoke of the challenge police face due to accused persons being released on bail. His comments came on Saturday after an 18-year-old youth on bail was killed while waiting at a traffic light on Soldier Road near Robinson Road.
The victim’s brother had been shot and killed two weeks earlier in the vicinity of Nicholls Street.
In the incident on Saturday, the victim and his 14-year-old brother stopped at a traffic light on Soldier Road near Robinson Road when two masked men, armed with handguns in a gold coloured vehicle, shot them multiple times before speeding off.
The 14-year-old is in the hospital in critical condition.
The 18-year-old, shot in his body, was wearing an ankle bracelet and police confirmed he was released on bail “for a serious indictable offence.”
His death brought the murder count for the year to 116.
Speaking to reporters after the shooting, ACP Dean said: “This is the challenge police are faced with. We do our part every day to get these people before the courts. We are doing it. Do we have to find a way as a country, all the systems of justice have to work together to make sure we keep these persons locked behind bars because as long as they are on the streets they are not going to work, they are going to continue with the life of crime and will continue to use the firearms, they will continue to become a menace to society.
“We need now the entire country, everybody, we are at a crossroads right now and if the issue of people being released on bail in a short period of time, that is something we have to look at. We know what the problem is in this country and we have to solve it.”