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Speak Mr. Commissioner

Hilary Heath (right) and Dr. Rachel Turner with former rape accused Derick Crawford.

President of the Bar Association of Barbados, Andrew Pilgrim, believes that if Commissioner of Police, Darwin Dottin, does not properly investigate the case of former rape accused, Derick Crawford, he needs to go.

In addition, Pilgrim suggested that Dottin should come forward and make a statement on the issue, while Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite needs to get involved in the case.

Pilgrim offered these suggestions earlier today while speaking to the Press at his office on Whitepark Road, the City, following the acquittal of Crawford at the Holetown Magistrates Court yesterday.

The attorney-at-law said: “The Attorney General must get involved to make the public and visitors feel confident about how the local system works. If they see something that they have doubts about they would investigate it thoroughly so that people can come away feeling confident.”

Pilgrim said as far back as 1994 it has been on the statute books that the police should be recording all confessions whether by video or by audio and in case these cannot be done, a justice of the peace should be present.

He charged that in every case that came to court it seemed that the accused waived his right to a lawyer.

“Almost every file I pick up and open the police would say that the accused said:’ I do not want a lawyer now’. In every case you see this recurring. If it is true, well great. A justice of the peace should be present to say that the accused has waived his right to a lawyer. But this is not true.

President of the Bar Association of Barbados, Andrew Pilgrim.

“We would never know because we do not record and we do not have anyone looking at how the investigations are conducted. I have to say that in [comparison to] the OECS countries, Trinidad and Jamaica and most of the modern world, Barbados is way behind in this area,” Pilgrim said.

Pilgrim said he was embarrassed when he was in Dominica and St. Kitts doing legal work and found out that St. Kitts and Dominica have had a justice of Peace in place for years. He said St. Kitts brought their act into force in May where they must record, either video or audio, or have a justice of peace present at all times during the interrogation process.

Pilgrim pointed out that a case like Crawford’s was perfect for the introduction of video and audio recordings because the police have the wrong man but they have a confession saying he committed the crime.

He said: “I felt very strongly about the situation, especially as it relates to Crawford. And if I was responsible for a man sitting in prison for 18 months wrongfully, and I was responsible for putting these ladies through what they have gone through during the last two years I would go home.

“I would go home, but I do not know if I am bold enough to say the Commissioner of Police should go home. There is a situation here in which somebody has to account for Crawford’s suffering. Somebody has to account for these ladies’ suffering. It is hoped that the commissioner would come forward and make a statement in light of the dismissal of the charges which would satisfy us all.”

Earlier, Crawford expressed thanks to Hilary Heath who was also raped in 2004 and Dr. Rachel Turner, who was raped in 2010 for coming forward to clear his name, but he insisted that he must get some monetary compensation for the 18 months he spent on remand at Dodds. (NC)†

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