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Over 30 on bail

One of the island’s top criminal lawyers has estimated that there may be over 30 alleged murderers out on bail in Barbados.

There has been public outcry over Tuesday’s release on $250,000 bail of alleged killer Sean Watson, who had spent the last four years on remand at HMP Dodds, charged with the murder of his estranged wife Nicole Harrison-Watson on April 29, 2012.

However, Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim today insisted that despite the seriousness of the offence, all persons are entitled to bail under the Bail Act.

“First of all, the question is, are people allowed to get bail for murder in Barbados? And the answer to the question is yes, pursuant to the Bail Act.

“Is Sean Watson the first person to get bail for murder in Barbados? The answer is no. He is one of probably 30 people or more who are on bail for murder in Barbados, so it is not as big a deal as people are making it seem. I don’t mean that to take away from the seriousness of the offence of murder, but obviously if other people are getting bail for this offence, you have to ask what is special about Sean Watson that he got bail, and the answer is nothing,” Pilgrim told Barbados TODAY in an interview at the Supreme Court.

The senior attorney explained that the amount of time spent on remand awaiting trial was one of the main factors which resulted in bail being granted to people charged with murder.

He argued that it was inhumane for persons to be kept on remand for years on end while awaiting trial.

“We are in Barbados in a state where we are unable to give people a trial in a reasonable time in a lot of cases. One of the greatest breaches of a person’s human rights when they are innocent until proven guilty, is to have them imprisoned until they are tried.

“If you have to keep a person on remand before their trial it should be for a short time. When you start to have people in prison for two years, three years, four years, five years before they are tried, it is not fair and it is quite possible that a judge would grant bail in those circumstances,” he insisted.

However, Pilgrim said it would be unfair to place the blame for the delay in cases solely at the feet of the police or the judicial system.

He contended that while there had been a rise in crime in recent years, there had not been a corresponding increase in the number law enforcement officials.

“We have had over the past few decades a significant increase in crime, but we have not increased the number of magistrates, the number of judges and we have not significantly increased the number of police officers,” he said.

“So obviously if your crime increased 20-fold and you have the same number of police now as you did 15 years ago and the same judges and the same police doing the same cases . . . obviously the delays are going to be significant.

“The question is what are we doing as a people, or as a Government to improve the justice system to make sure it flows quickly and realizing that when the justice system doesn’t work it affects all of us,” Pilgrim noted. (RB)

12 Responses to Over 30 on bail

  1. Tony Webster April 15, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Mr. Pilgrim:” He is one of probably 30 people or more who are on bail for murder in Barbados, so it is not as big a deal as people are making it seem”.
    Taken literally, this highly intelligent chap, is stating that “people” are making a small matter “appear” as if it be “a big thing” ie, unreasonably exaggerating a matter. May I ask the Gentleman of Silk, if within the past few months, an accused and alledged murder, who had been similarly released from remand, has found himself charged with ANOTHER murder”. Could someone please nudge Mr. Pilgrim into a state of wakefullness, or at least counsel him (sorry) to be more careful in his choice of words, and to treat with the citizenry in a more mature- and realistic-and respectful-manner?
    Please, Mr. Pilgrim?
    As to the solution, I direct citizens’ attention to the current drought: not only of water, but the Fi$cal drought…and the state of governance in this fair country.

    Plain and simple, we are now reaping the whirl-wind.

  2. Carolyn Robertson
    Carolyn Robertson April 15, 2016 at 6:22 am

    So we have a jail now for drug dealer you all people sick

    • harry turnover April 15, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Drug dealing is more DEADLY than MURDER that is what the EXPERTS on Law are saying………SICK….SICK….SICK…eduation en common sense nor head en brain either.

  3. Carson C Cadogan April 15, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Well said, Mr. Pilgrim.

    This ought to clear up much of the misconceptions regarding the granting of bail here in Barbados and the thing is that Barbados is not the only country in the Caribbean or the World where persons accused of the crime of Murder are granted bail.

    If an accused person meets the conditions for the granting of bail, then that person should be granted bail.

    Simple as that.

  4. Donna Harewood April 15, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Andrew needs to be a little more careful in his choice of words but his points are valid. One should not be holding accused persons for so long without a trial. Suppose that person is eventually found not guilty. Can one sue the government for the inordinate amount of time one was held before trial? This system is broken and not much is being done to fix it.

  5. Alex Alleyne April 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Must make way for the persons caught with “weed”.
    I wonder what will happen when some of the murders are met in a dark alley late at night by a bunch of angry men and women.

  6. Rishona Graham
    Rishona Graham April 15, 2016 at 9:22 am

    it was inhumane what he did to that woman!!!! That was inhumane not keeping a confessed murderer on remand!!!

  7. seagul April 15, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Does anyone here knows the meaning of CONFESSED as defined by a stoopid……….

  8. Donna Harewood April 15, 2016 at 10:20 am

    If he confessed to the police he will still have to plead guilty in court before that is accepted as fact. There are many reasons for that. The main one is whether he freely confessed or was coerced or in fact whether he did confess at all. Fact is we need to speed up our justice system. That’s all!

  9. Bentley Beckles April 15, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I would like a call from the moderator between 1:15 – 2:30 pm today to discuss my post made around 6:21 am, which I have not seen displayed as yet.

    Bentley Beckles

  10. Tony Webster April 15, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Forgive me if I might appear a bit “off-topic” here, but this thought has just occurred to me.

    If the Right Excellent Errol Walton were to be alive and with us, today-or even on 30th November 2016-and there lined up before the Great Man, were all those upon whose shoulders he had rested his mantle and legacy, and he said out aloud for all to hear, this question:-


    What would these worthy folks respond? Is his legacy, truly and fully honoured and respected? It is as if we have lost our shame, and are walking, zombie-like, in the desert of our dreams.

  11. Alex 3 April 20, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Meanwhile a man accused of kidnapping his wife is still in jail awaiting disposition of his case.


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