Release the AG, Marshall advises PM
Send him packing!
This is the punishment Opposition Member of Parliament Dale Marshall believes Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite should receive for publicly stating his position on the continued detention of Constable Everton Gittens.
“I think the Prime Minister [Freundel Stuart] should do what [former Prime Minister] Owen Arthur might have done if one of his Cabinet ministers had spoken in such a reckless manner, and that is: Owen Arthur would have sent him or her packing,” Marshall told Barbados TODAY this evening.
However, the Opposition parliamentarian said he would not hold his breath because he did not expect Stuart to act.
“I don’t expect any reaction from the Prime Minister. I remind you that there is still a pending matter in the hands of the Royal Barbados Police Force where a sitting Member of Parliament brandished a firearm against me,” he said in reference to an alleged altercation between him and Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick back in 2010.
Brathwaite yesterday backed calls by the Barbados Police Association for Gittens to be freed on bail, after spending more than a year on remand for murder.
The Attorney General made reference to Andre Lord Evil Jackman, who has been charged with murder but is out on bail, saying it made no sense that other murder accused such as Jackman were out on bail while the police officer remained behind bars.
“If you, for example, can release on bail someone who names himself Lord Evil, I see no reason why you cannot release Constable Gittens on bail,” Brathwaite said.
The comment provoked the ire of Andrew Pilgrim, QC, as well as Jackman’s attorney Arthur Holder, who has already said he would file for dismissal of the charges against his client because Brathwaite’s comments had jeopardized his chances of getting a fair trial.
Now Marshall, a former Attorney General, has joined in the criticism, telling Barbados TODAY he was “personally horrified” that Brathwaite would have made a comment which could so easily be interpreted as an attempt to influence a High Court judge.
“For the Attorney General to offer a view which in essence means that he thinks that the judges who have heard those bail applications ought to have granted bail, is to suggest that he disapproves of the way in which that judge has exercised his or her discretion,” he said.
Marshall explained that under Barbados’ system of governance there was “something called separation of powers which means that the executive or legislative should not get involved in, or try to influence, the manner in which the judiciary functions.
“So when an Attorney General says that he can see no reason why one individual should be granted bail over another, and then one of those individuals has not been granted bail, then he is trespassing on the powers of the judiciary.
“Quite frankly, I hope that the judiciary will ignore completely anything that the Attorney General has to say on this matter because it is not for him or any Attorney General to comment on whether they are dissatisfied with the exercise of the High Court judge.”
The Member of Parliament for St Joseph noted the emotive nature of the issue surrounding bail for people charged with murder, saying there was already enough tension among parties without the Attorney General getting involved in this manner.
He said if Government had concerns about the issue, it should enact the necessary laws to make it clear if, and under what circumstances, bail should be granted.
“What we have really is a Prime Minister who appears to express horror at the fact that a murder accused should get bail, while, on the other hand, we have an Attorney General who says that he [doesn’t] think the judges are exercising their discretion properly. What we are having is a slow, but sure descent into anarchy,” said Marshall, in reference to Stuart’s revelation last month that he was “hit for six” when he found out that people on remand for murder here were being granted bail.