Categorized | National News

AG: The Justice System is the Country’s Greatest Concern

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Alison Maynard-Gibson emphasized during her contribution to the 2015/2016 budget debate in the Senate on Wednesday that the government is doing so much more than just placing the country in a state of fiscal stability.

It is with pride that she acknowledged the accomplishments of the implementation of value-added tax (VAT), government expenditure, and the debt to GDP ratio increase.

Senator Maynard-Gibson however, focused on the justice system which she deemed the country’s greatest concern.
“Madam President, as I indicated crime was allowed to spiral out of control from 2007 to 2012. Crime is complex. And one murder is one too many. People want to hear what the government is doing to prevent murder and other violent crime and, ultimately, to make The Bahamas safer. This is what we are doing through Stronger Bahamas,” she said.

She also noted that the government recognizes that justice delayed is justice denied for victims and the accused are taking the necessary precautions.

“In fact, the commissioner of police announced at the end of 2014 that overall crime had decreased by 18 per cent over 2013. This is progress and we intend to keep that trend going in the right direction – down,” the attorney general said.

“We have worked assiduously to bring on matters for trial within a reasonable period of time – sending the message to criminals that they will be swiftly caught, prosecuted and punished and thereby reducing the likelihood of persons accused of murder being released on bail. A safer Bahamas has a Swift Justice system that deters crime and deals with criminals fairly and swiftly.”

Senator Maynard-Gibson said regrettably, The Swift Justice programme was victim of the Free National Movement (FNM) stop, review and cancel policy.

It was reinstated in 2012.

Some of the good results she named include, Voluntary Bill of Indictments (VBI) down from 344 days in 2012 to 50 days in May 2015, systemic changes that almost doubled the amount of matters disposed of by six courts from 2012 to December 2014, and implementation of 10 courts means that at least 348 matters can be disposed of in 2015.

“Swift Justice has resulted in an increased conviction rate to 66 per cent guilty YTD 2015,” she said.

“YTD there were 148 bail appearances/hearings for persons accused of murder and manslaughter. From those appearances (including repeat appearances), eight bails were granted, 25 bails denied, one bail revoked, eight variations made, one variation denied and six applications dismissed. “

All of which she said should show that the government is serious about the “revolving door” on bail.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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