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‘WE CAN’T DENY RIGHT TO BAIL’: AG insists law must be upheld despite murder of released suspects

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder. (File photo)

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder. (File photo)

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Ryan Pinder says he does not believe it will be appropriate for the country to pass legislation that outright denies bail to people charged with murder given a recent Privy Council ruling that declared the matter “unconstitutional”.

Mr Pinder was asked to state his position on the matter after both Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander and National Security Minister Wayne Munroe recently expressed support for keeping people charged with serious crimes in custody rather than being released on bail.

The latest crime statistics show that most of the victims killed for the year were out on bail.

While Mr Pinder did not definitely express a view on the matter, he noted that any decision made has to fall in line with the Constitution based on “guidance by the Privy Council”.

“You would look at a recent Privy Council decision that was just issued this month or last month, July with respect to Trinidad,” the Attorney General said yesterday.

“Trinidad had put in law that they would deny bail for murders. Jamaica has a similar law. The Privy Council ruled that that is unconstitutional and throughout that law and Jamaica is now going to be forced to change their law.

“So, anything we do has to be in the purview of the Constitution and guidance by the Privy Council, which is the ultimate court of the land. Now do I think that you know, harsh sentences should be put on murderers and we shouldn’t let them roam the streets? Of course, I do but it has to be done properly.”

Mr Pinder also pointed to a recent Court of Appeal judgement that ruled bail could be denied to an alleged “murderer if they thought that releasing him would be a threat to innocent people, not necessarily himself.”

He continued: “Now, when you’re looking at going into another level, there’ll be a threat to themselves, because if they’re out on bail, they are a target. We’re not quite there yet. The Court of Appeal hasn’t gone that far yet.

“I’ve had a discussion with the president of the Court of Appeal on that ruling and we’re discussing the legal parameters related to that but given the recent Privy Council decision out of Trinidad, I don’t think that it would be appropriate for us to pass a law that would deny bill outright to murders.”

Gun violence has been an ongoing issue in the country, with murders said to be up 21 percent this year when compared to the same period last year.

There was also a 49 percent rise in armed robberies so far this year.

Yesterday, Mr Pinder also revealed that a key priority for the Davis administration over the next several months will be dealing with legislation as it relates to crime prevention and intelligence.

He said the government intends to make amendments to several crime fighting laws, including the National Crime Intelligence Agency Bill and the Defence Act.

“You would have heard the prime minister say that we have to focus on intelligence, and we have to focus on the reasons for crime, to try to prevent them along with obviously catching the criminals,” he added.

“Part of our agenda in framing out crime prevention intelligence, we look to the table the National Crime intelligence agency amendment bill, which strengthens the National Crime intelligence agency in order to better respond to intelligence on criminal matters.

“We’re also looking at amendments of the Defence Act. In that Defence Act amendment, we look to strengthen the scope and provide for a broader influence of the National Security Council of The Bahamas so we can have a broader and more in depth, a security approach by legislation, the legislation empowerment of the National Security Council.”

Mr Pinder continued: “We’re also looking to launch a criminal law overhaul project through the law reform and Law Review Commission and what that will do is look at all of our criminal laws, to modernise them, to bring them into international best practices but also to look at certain elements of case law, especially in the Court of Appeal decisions that have been made that we would want to look at from a legislative point of view, to assist with the criminal enforcement and prosecution of criminals in the country.”

Comments

Sickened 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Okay then let's get rid of the privy council and make our own decisions. If we need to change the constitution then so be it. Many countries don't allow bail for very serious offenses. I believe the majority of us would be in favor of the ability for the courts to deny bail. Let's think about some of the horrible things that have happened in other countries over the last few years (mass school shooting, people intentionally plowing through crowds with their vehicles, snipers shooting random people from windows and roof tops). When people like this are caught in the act or there is soooo much evidence pointing towards them, then do we really want these people to be able to be released on bail? We need to stop focusing on the 1 out of 10,000 innocent people that get caught up in the system and instead focus on the 9,999 out of 10,000 that are animals who have the ability to roam throughout society.

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KapunkleUp 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Obviously one size does not fit all. Granting bail for capital crimes should be on a case to case basis. Past criminal record, standing in the community, gang affiliations, circumstances of the alleged crime and so on. Unfortunately bail seems to be granted almost as a default right now without any regard to the above.

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realfreethinker 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Another brain deal politico. Doesn't he know that the privy council is no longer the final court for Jamaica?

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The PM & his AG will protect the rights of the criminals to apply for bail.

So, give them bail and then get their death sentence on the street. It is what it is.

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SP 3 months, 3 weeks ago

We can thank the FNM Ingraham administration for creating the bail laws in the first place!

In fact the majority problems affecting Bahamaians today were all created by failed policies of the PLP and FNM.

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TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Curious if Comrade AG Ryan Pinder will also talk about things most bother a popoulaces ... like why it's made easier to open a bank account than trying buy a pair of medical purpose Compression Socks. Like why can't you just walk into a pharmacy and buy them without having to undergo a get-to-know form of interrogation as to what's your need pair medical Compression Socks be pushing blood flow up legs ― Yes?

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tribanon 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The real problem is our entire failed judicial system. It denies justice being dispensed on a timely basis.

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LastManStanding 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The right to bail is a hallmark of a free society, kudos to the Privy Council for reiterating that. Quite frankly speaking, those of us who cannot live in civilized society need to go off and form their own. This trend of wanting to strip away our rights due to the actions of a very select demographic of people is concerning, to say the least.

Also, did not see any mention of it in the Tribune, but the "wrong result" remark from Pinder regarding referendums was completely unacceptable. The government derives power from the people and does not have any authority on it's own, it is the height of arrogance and hubris to say that the opinion of the Bahamian electorate expressed via a legitimate referendum is "wrong". As we saw a decade ago, Bahamians expressed the "wrong" opinion voting against the legalization of numbers houses as well. Quite frankly, what is the point of voting if our voice will be ignored anyways? Just more evidence that the PHellP have not changed one bit, and we can expect Davis to be just as unpopular as Minnis was by the time the next election is called. Calling it now, 30+ for the FNM (even though they don't really deserve it).

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