This is getting quite tiresome but as long as we have the ability and the medium to speak out, even when our own particular circumstances may not be immediately threatened by what is going on, it behooves us to speak out.
Most of the Island’s laws were written and codified long before the Island was unceremoniously jettisoned by Britain, )the process we Jamaicans call gaining Independence).
It is inconceivable to imagine that the punitive components of laws passed in 1955 would have relevance or deterrent effect in 2018.
Yet to some degree that is what obtains in Jamaica today. In fairness to the Legislature, some of the laws have been amended and new ones have been passed. Missing from the new laws and the updates done to the old ones, however, are obvious indicators that the legislature recognizes the seriousness of crime in the country.
As such the Independent Judiciary has taken it onto itself to determine who goes to jail, who spend time in prison after convictions and guilty pleas [regardless of their crimes] if at all.
The bedrock of the common law system is the doctrine of stare decisis (“let the decision stand”). The doctrine has two limbs. First, the courts are obliged to follow the decisions and rulings in previously decided cases, or precedents, where the facts and issues are substantially the same. The second limb of the doctrine – and this is really an extension of the first – dictates that a lower court cannot depart from the precedents set by a higher court where the issue is essentially the same. http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/JAMAICA.html.
A general principle of the administration of justice is that [justice must not only be done it must also appear to be done] . This is a principle readily voiced by lawyers particularly on the defense side ,as well as judges on the bench.
That principle is used to bludgeon Police Officers even by untrained members of civil society. Yet when Judges overstep their legal responsibility and make a mockery of the dispensation of justice everyone is silent except the police of course.
When there is no equity, or even a more understandable commonsense pattern of sentencing, or even in the granting of bail, it erodes the confidence of the people in the system’s ability to protect them.
As we have seen in our country the practice of mob killing has been on the rise over the years and there is a general silence at this emerging and expanding phenomenon.
While everyone’s attentions are focused on the allegations of police misconduct the dangerous epidemic of mob killings have gone on without the appropriate outcry it deserves. Despite the well-worn practice of blaming the police for all of the failings of the justice system, the dangerous phenomenon of mob killings cannot logically be placed at the feet of the police, although some will certainly try.
Recent complaints of Judges letting serious felons off with slaps on the wrist was long overdue. Nevertheless, like everyone else, judges have a right to have their side of the story heard.
The explanation given by one high court judge gives much more credence to my personal call to codify into law the penalties for certain categories of crime.
Since far too many judges understand the term ]Independent judiciary] to mean the right to admonish and discharge criminals caught with guns and ammunition, then the legislature must take that option away from them.
When they take it upon themselves to simply throw out cases of assault on police officers while holding police officers criminally culpable for using force to effect lawful arrests there is a problem.
Responding to claims of light sentences from the police circuit court judge Justice Glen Brown said the following.
“If a rich man’s son “commits a crime, they expect leniency”, but if a poor man commits a crime, they expect him, (as the judge), “to send him to prison”.
Brown cited probation reports as being vital in playing a role in the sentencing process. He argues that when the reports are looked at in some cases, many of the young boys involved had been involved in sporting activities, including football. “You have to rescue them.”
At the risk of sounding cliche, “I rest my case“.
Those comments were made in response to accusations that persons who were convicted for illegal possession of guns and ammunition in St James and three other western parishes last year, got off easy, as High Court judges opted for suspended sentences and fines as low as $70,000.
The police cited hundreds of verifiable case last year in which murderers and other felons were released back onto the streets after they arrested them. They simply go out and kill or kill again.
The idea that judges see their roles as social workers instead of following precedent as is stipulated in paragraph(3) above demonstrates the need for mandatory minimum sentences for certain categories of crime, effectively removing that function from the hands of judges.
The breakdown of law and order and the general lawlessness in the country is directly attributable to the lax, complicit, corrupt, and incompetent justice system led by the Islands judges who refuse to follow precedent.
Instead of fixing that problem as police officers have been demanding for decades[ a problem I complained about over two decades ago while I was a serving police officer] they continue on while blaming the police for being complicit while ignoring this glaring problem.
Call your political representative/member of parliament and demand that judges respect precedent and obey our laws.
They have no authority to ignore the crimes committed by criminals in order to do social work.
Demand serious mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes now.
JUDGES OF THE SUPREME COURT
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, O.J. Chief Justice
Supreme Court – Puisne Judges
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Carol Lawrence -Beswick – Senior Puisne Judge
The Honourable Mr. Justice B. Andrew Rattray
The Honourable Mr. Justice Courtney Daye
The Honourable Mr. Justice Bryan Sykes
The Honourable Miss Justice Jennifer Straw (Acting as Judge of Appeal)
The Honourable Mr. Justice Leighton Pusey
The Honourable Miss Justice Christine McDonald
The Honourable Mr. Justice Martin Gayle
The Honourable Mr. Justice Bertram Morrison
The Honourable Mr. Justice Glenworth Brown
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Sarah Thompson-James
The Honourable Mr. Justice David Fraser
The Honourable Miss Justice Carol Edwards
The Honourable Mr. Justice Kirk Anderson
The Honourable Mr. Justice Evan Brown
The Honourable Miss Justice Nicole Simmons
The Honourable Mr. Justice David Batts
The Honourable Mrs. Sharon George
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Vivene Harris
The Honourable Mr. Justice Kissock Laing
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Audre Lindo
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Cresencia Brown-Beckford
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Marcia Dunbar-Green
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Georgiana Fraser
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Lorna Shelly-Williams
The Honourable Mr. Justice Chester Stamp
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Vinette Graham-Allen
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Sonia Bertram-Linton
The Honourable Mr. Justice Dale Palmer
The Honourable Miss Justice Carolyn Tie
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Stephane Jackson-Haisley
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Sonya Wint-Blair
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Lisa Palmer-Hamilton
The Honourable Miss Justice Yvonne Brown
The Honourable Mrs. Andrea Pettigrew-Collins
The Honourable Miss Justice Calys Wiltshire
The Honourable Miss Justice Judith Pusey (Ag.)
The Honourable Mrs. Justice Simone Wolfe-Reece (Ag.)
The Honourable Miss Justice Annmarie Nembhard (Ag.)
Miss Rosemarie Harris
Miss Pamela Mason (Ag.)
Miss Andrea Thomas (Ag.)
Mrs. Natalie Hart-Hines (Ag.)