Depeiza defends changes to Act

A Government Senator has rubbished Opposition claims that members of the Royal Barbados Police Force have been given unconstitutional powers under the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was laid in the House of Assembly last week by Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett.

Addressing the monthly meeting of the St Peter branch of the ruling Democratic Labour Party at the All Saints Resource Centre, Mile and Quarter, St Peter last night, Verla DePeiza, who is a practising attorney-at-law,  pointed out that under the Criminal Arrestable Offences Act and the Police Act, lawmen already had the right to arrest persons on suspicion that they would commit an offence.

“The police do not have to wait for you to commit an offence in order for you to be arrested. You just have to look like you are about to commit a crime and they can ‘down hand in you’, arrest you in other words.

“They do not have to wait,” she argued.

Pointing out that under the Police Act there were already eight or nine categories under which the police could execute an arrest without a warrant, she emphasized that all the proposed amendment did was to provide another way.

“That’s all it is. The police have the right now to put a person out of the house temporarily,” she said, while pointing out that “there has to be risk of physical violence” and that it was not just carte blanche.

“You must understand the situation that law officers are looking to alleviate where very likely the persons already live in the same household, and it is simply a means of diffusing a volatile situation.

“It is also not unheard of in other jurisdictions for police officers to already have the right to separate the parties. The way to separate the parties in a situation like that will be for one to be removed from the household. It is not permanent,” DePeiza added.

The Government senator went on to say that under the Bill, the police’s emergency powers only existed until the alleged victims could get a court date.

“So if the incident occurred on a Tuesday night, it would be Wednesday morning. The emergency protection order will expire at the time of the next available court date. So Wednesday morning if the incident happens the Tuesday night, if the incident happens on Friday night it will offer protection straight through until Monday morning. I do not think it is unreasonable and I think it fits the circumstance very well,” the attorney-at-law explained.

During the introduction of the measure in Parliament last week, former Attorney General Dale Marshall had warned that the sweeping powers granted to police officers under the amended legislation could result in breaches of individuals’ constitutional rights. (NC)  

3 Responses to Depeiza defends changes to Act

  1. jrsmith February 2, 2016 at 11:01 am

    What amazes me, if the police in Barbados , have these lawful, rights, why are they not doing the jobs as should, what wrong with application of the law, ( my main interest is stop and search) this is the most effective way of recovering weapons , such as guns and knives… What seems to be the problem , although lawfully ,this would apply to all the citizens of Barbados, this is not being applied , because it would effect certain ,them and us folk in Barbados.. this carries a lot of meaning…

    Reply
  2. Bobo February 2, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Professional Leading Experts of Laws innovate and create laws-Attorney General pass down the policies –From Africa to the Caribbean-crooked politicians have and continued to violate Black people ”rights”. Since independence ninety -five- per cent don’t know of their Constitutional rights— this alone is a crime against humanity.

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  3. Sam Clarke February 2, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    SO YOU ARE TELLING ME A POLICE OFFICER CAN LOOK AT A PERSON, AND ARREST THEM BECAUSE OF POLICE OFFICER’S THOUGHTS? THIS IS A GROSS VIOLATION OF A PERSONS CIVIL RIGHTS. MS. DEPIEZA SHOULD BE ASHAMED AS AN ATTORNEY, NOT ONLY TO BE ADVOCATING FOR THE NEW LAW, BUT NOT DOING ANYTHING TO CHANGE THE LAW THAT SHE IS SO HAPPILY QUOTING.
    WHERE ARE OUR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS MS. DEPIEZA? YOU GET ON YOUR SOAP BOX AND GLOWINGLY ADVOCATE TO NOT ONLY TAKING AWAY OUR RIGHTS, BUT SUPPORTING THE CURRENT LAWS ( IF THIS IS TRUE) THAT IS ON THE BOOKS?

    WHY DO WE NED MORE LAWS TO COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, IF YOU SAY THAT THERE ARE CURRENT LAWS ON THE BOOKS TO ACHIEVE THIS GOAL?
    THE MERE FACT OF BRINGING THIS SORT OF DRACONIAN LAWS INTO THE 21ST CENTURY, SPEAKS VOLUMES TO THE MIND SET OF THE LIKES OF YOU AND WHO EVER DRAFTED SUCH A LAW.
    FURTHER MORE, WHAT YOU AND THOSE WHO ARE SITTING THERE AND DRAFTING THESE LAWS, SHOULD SPEND YOUR TIME REMOVING THE 16TH CENTURY LAWS THAT ARE CURRENTLY ON THE LAW STATUES .
    WHILE THE INTENT TO COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS NOBLE, YOUR SOLUTION IS DEPLORABLE.

    Reply

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