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Stop The Bank Lane Shuffle

EDITOR, The Tribune.

Under both the Constitution of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the common law, a person who is accused of a criminal offence is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless and until that person is lawfully convicted of a crime. Every civilised society recognises this by sparing an individual who is merely accused of a crime from any punishment or embarrassment as far as is practically possible.

In that context, it is inexcusable for police to parade accused individuals before the cameras in a well-rehearsed shaming ritual known as the “Bank Lane Shuffle”. It is clear from the coordination with the media and the handcuffing of individuals, even where it is demonstrably unnecessary (like an ex-cabinet minister on crutches or a professional woman in her 80’s) that the purpose of the exercise is shame and humiliation, rather than public safety or justice.

From a glance at the South Street Court Complex it is clear that the building is constructed purposefully to permit accused individuals to be brought into the private rear entrance by vehicle. Yet police intentionally avoid use of this convenience for unconvicted, accused people and instead use it only for (convicted or remanded) transferees from Fox Hill Prison!

It therefore appears to be the intended purpose of the police to reserve the shaming process for fresh targets of prosecution: a practice with possibly grave implications for the fairness of the trial process itself. The judiciary and politicians alike ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing this medieval and unjust practice to persist in a modern Bahamas. It would not survive the first week of a government that was serious about advancing this country.

ANDREW ALLEN

Nassau,

September 4, 2020.

Comments

mandela 1 week, 6 days ago

Agreed, we in this country love to bring down and destroy each other it's a disgrace, we are slowly becoming our own worst enemy.

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bogart 1 week, 6 days ago

Agreed wid you Mr. Allen. This is just a tip of the iceberg where other more glaring shortfalls occur like the incarceratdd have to endure in packed sardines in overcrowded cells at Foxhill Prison,.....having to poop into buckets,...judges questioned appointments,...guilty red handed caught criminals tying up courts wid Not Guilty pleas, ....prospective jury lists publishing in newspapers persons exact precise name and address of people serving and having to face accused violent criminals on small island where criminals have illegal guns and going round shooting people, courts located im midst of tourist trafficked areas viewing historic buildings,..varied fines on recent law people caught without masks curfew,..Prison buses charging full speed right across the island forcing motorists off roads instead of building prison Courts by prison,.... and list goes on. Good point Mr. Allen on the Bank Shuffle.

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