Lashley says, Govt is not going soft on criminals
Amendments being proposed to the Offences Against the Person Act should not be seen as Government “going soft” on criminals.
MP for St Philip North Michael Lashley made that assertion as he contributed to debate on the Offences Against the Person (Amendment) Bill, 2014 that would abolish the mandatory imposition of the penalty of death for murder.
“We are not getting soft on criminals. It is not that. The judge still has the power to sentence someone to death. That is the law and we have not changed it,” he said.
“We have travelled thus far and we have recognized that this matter should be looked at in terms of improvement to a criminal justice system.”
Lashley, who is an attorney-at-law, cited a report done by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that identified the excessive delays in the criminal justice system in Barbados.
“The delays in the criminal justice system have infringed the rights of individuals to a fair trial. I am aware that there are persons who would want to put a spin on the amendments to state that the Government is going soft on criminals,” Lashley.
However, he stressed, the amendment to the Act lays down the circumstances under which the court can sentence a person convicted of murder to death.
The Government MP also noted that there were cases where individuals were charged with murder and when it came before the court he was charged with a lesser offence.
He said the amendment bill outlined a number of matters that judges would take into consideration in determining how to sentence a murder convict.
“If the murder was committed with a high level of brutality, cruelty or callousness or if it was calculated or planned can influence a judge in sentencing an individual,” Lashley pointed out.