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Monday 19 February 2018
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Rambharat: Police part of criminal justice system failure

AGRICULTURE Minister Clarence Rambharat said the Police Service is part of the critical failing of the criminal justice system.

“I am on record...I am not a fan of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.” He was contributing to debate yesterday in the Senate on the Plea Bargaining Bill.

He said the real work is the implementation of the legislation regarding the criminal justice system but the bureaucracy over time in the court and the police have failed to step up to give effect to what the Parliament has done.

He referred to a Newsday front page photograph in early March which featured a 14-year-old girl who was “consumed” with grief as she bent over the body of her father who was shot and killed in Debe.

“One of the things we miss is the real victims of the failures of our criminal justice system. And that is all those children who have been left behind without one or, in some cases, both parents. And as I looked at (the child) on the Newsday, I felt that as a legislator in my own right and as a Parliament we ought to really do better as we debate this thing we call the criminal justice system.” He said as the girl was crying over her father, he felt powerless because he could not offer any assurance to her, as a legislator, that anything he did would have the requisite impact on the criminal justice system. He explained that the real work is in the implementation.

He also said the chance of the person who killed the girl’s father being apprehended is very small with the detection rate for murder at under 15 per cent.

He said if the person was found, it would be an average of eight years before an indictment and, assuming that takes place, the chances of a successful prosecution is also under 15 per cent.

Rambharat said the reason plea bargaining has not worked in the past is because there is no real fear of the accused criminal that he would be convicted. He said in order for it to work, there is the bigger task of fixing the criminal justice system.

He said good legislation can go to waste in the hands of bureaucrats and the DNA bill, brought since 2001, had only four of the 13 requirements met.

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