AG’s comments could cause anarchy, warns Thorne
Prominent attorney-at-law Ralph Thorne, QC, believes Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite “trespassed on judicial premises and threatens descent into the rough terrain of anarchy” when he cited the release on bail of murder accused Andre Lord Evil Jackman to support his call police officer Everton Gittens be granted bail.
“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 at the time.
Thorne contended that the comments by the Attorney General portrayed “an appalling disregard” for the constitutional separation of powers doctrine that stipulates that judicial power must be exercised only by the courts.
The senior attorney added that the comments also represented an undue influence “capable of undermining the sacred principle” that the judiciary must be independent and remain insulated from even the appearance of any political control.
Thorne explained that the constitution had created the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions “who has independent powers relating to matters in all criminal courts. Indeed, it is the DPP who responds on behalf of the Crown on applications for bail”.
Thorne pointed out that the Attorney General speaks as Government’s chief legal adviser and as a politician, adding that with his comments he has moved “his line marks in a manner that has encroached upon the constitutional property of the DPP and for this he stands condemned”.
The Opposition Barbados Labour Party candidate in the next election and a practising attorney for the past 32 years suggested that Brathwaite needed to be reminded that there could be no “admixture of the mighty waters of criminal justice and the silky oil of politics”.
Gittens, of Dash Gap, Bank Hall, St Michael was charged with the murder of Selwyn Blues Knight on March 15 last year. He was also charged with wounding Knight’s son, Junior Knight, with intent to maim, disfigure or disable him, as well as recklessly engaging in conduct which placed Junior Knight in danger of death or serious bodily harm, on the same date.
Brathwaite revealed his position on the matter after a “highly offended” BPA President Mervin Grace had complained that it was “heart wrenching, frustrating and demoralizing” that Gittens, who has been held since April 2015, remained behind bars.
“We are highly offended by his incarceration, especially in light of the fact that persons who are accused of murder in this country and have been granted bail before committing other offences, they are given conditions of bail and the same cannot be given to a respected, dedicated and competent member of the Royal Barbados Police Force,” Grace said at the association’s annual general meeting held at Prince Cave Hall at District A Police Station.
He told members that this state of affairs suggested that the people who the police protect and serve with their lives thought very little of the officers and their contribution to society.
Gittens was offered bail today, to the tune of $200,000 and he was due to be released pending the processing of paperwork.