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Plea Bargainin?

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June 21, 2014 by Fensic

Ah cyar say ah surprised by de news dat come out ah de Dana Saroop Seetahal Symposium it had on Saturday June de 14th. Dat was de event wid people torkin about reengineerin de criminal justice system in Triniland.

Can de justice system even be reengineered or breakin it dong an startin over from scratch is de way tuh go? Dat could be de topic fuh ah next symposium.

Fuh me crime is de number one issue in de country; buh given de tendency tuh tie investigative journalism tuh bacchanal, I eh surprised in de reportin on de symposium. Ah disappointed buh not surprised.

All Trinis go know about what went orn at UWI larse week is what one newspaper say? Dat de “DPP trashes AG’s plans for plea bargaining legislation”?

What DPP Roger Gaspard say in response tuh Ramlogan was interestin so ah wanted tuh know more about de symposium itself an plea bargainin in T&T.

Is years now dat various govahments losin de battle against crime in T&T. Dey could trot out statistics on how is only one category ah crime dat risin all dey want, buh burglar proofin bars goin up arong people door, an windows too. At de end ah de day, when people tink ah crime is murders dey tinkin about, not so?

All kind ah ting gettin try tuh address crime. De latest an greatest go be dis plea bargainin idea ah tink. Eef de courts allow it, so de reasonin goes, more criminals in de system go get pushed out faster. Accordin tuh de AG, Dana Seetahal was wukkin on draft legislation fuh plea bargainin.

Dat might have ah role in de judicial process buh it certainly eh de solution. Crime might well be ah vampire, de way it suckin people blood, but it doh have no silver bullet dat go kill it dead.

Should dis govahment be spendin time tinkin about plea bargainin? Yes, eef yuh is supporter, an of course hell no eef yuh tink de time is wasted while Rome burnin.

Just de udder day, Shawn Marcelline murder case reach court. After de trial he geh sentenced tuh hang. He kill he wife in August 2003 in ah maxi taxi or just outside it after startin de killin inside it. Eef yuh ask me, de major reason he get convicted is because ah all dem eyewitness. It was de perfect kind ah case tuh satisfy de major rule of evidence in T&T – people who see de murder an willin tuh testify. Buh eleven years later? Eleven years?

What would ah happen eef it only had like one eyewitness an Shawn lawyer make dem look dotish? Shawn would ah get orf?

So de rules ah evidence eh have tuh change before plea bargainin could be ah issue?

How long it take tuh bring ah case tuh trial have tuh change too before torkin about plea bargainin. Accordin tuh Newsday, it have 500 murderers awaitin trial. Wid de givin current process, it takin years fuh dem cases tuh reach trial stage. How yuh could have ah man arrested fuh murder when he 17 an when he reach 26, he still waitin fuh he case tuh geh call?

It easy tuh look at all dem gruesome murders an yell tuh bring back hangin. De question is simple doh.

Hang who?

All ah we knew yuh cyar punish who yuh eh have in custody. Not even dem who “arrest is imminent”. Dat true fuh all crime; pick pocketin tuh murders.

Is not dat ah doh realize it cyar have plenty plea bargainin in murder cases. At least not eef Ramlogan lookin tuh import de concept how it does wuk udder places. Eef it have more dan one suspect in ah murder, yuh bargain wid de one who could help yuh make de case against who more guilty; de “bigger fish”, tuh coin ah phrase.

Dat mean plea bargainin go be for de udder kind ah cases, ones dat cloggin up de system?

Still, five hundred murderers could do plenty cloggin ah any system.

It eh just de Ramlogan who like de idea ah plea bargainin. Dana sheself make reference tuh it an how it does wuk good in de US. Den de president, Carmona, say it needed. Everybody who backin it doin so because of de crime backlog an how it does wuk in de US. Is de DPP who pointin out what dem eh seein.

What he say in dat symposium is what yuh would hope even de AG understand: Yuh cyar take bits an pieces ah somebody else system an drop it into yours widout understandin both systems, especially de one yuh takin ting from.

Most ah de people dat supportin de idea ah plea bargainin is people who normally does have dey head on dey shoulders so ah cyar just dismiss what dey say, or could I?

Does what dey say mean ah vigorous national debate need tuh happen or does it mean de idea showin de kind ah short sighted tinkin dat go ensure de country stay in de mess it in wid so many people searchin fuh dat silver bullet.

It hard tuh say how udder places like T&T handlin dey mess. What yuh does see on de surface doh mean different tings not happenin underneath, just like in T&T. In Jamaica, unless tings change recently, dey still killin one anudder at higher rate dan Trinis killin Trinis. Is more ah dem so dey have more murders.

Dey justice system more effective dan de one in T&T? Ah doubt it even eef earlier dis year, Vybz Kartel geh convicted of ah murder dat happen only in August 2011. Ah doubt dey efficient even eef dey convict dat taxi driver fuh killin Trini Michelle Coudray-Greaves. She murder happen even more recent, in January 2012. How much ah mih doubt shaped by inter-island rivalry? Probably all.

I eh have no clue eef plea bargainin wukkin fuh dem. Eef de TTPS get ah vaps an start arrestin criminals like crazy tomorrow, not even Ivor Archie could stop de system from collapsin.

Maybe in dat kind ah settin, as improbable it is, plea bargainin go be viable. Buh we know de place we torkin about an how tings does move. Eef de poleece was tuh get dat good, de preparations fuh de judicial system tuh accept all dem suspects should ah started years ago. De onlyest tings dat does move farse when it come tuh change is de mout ah de people makin de endless promises on how quick tings go change.

Sometimes yuh just cyar put de genie back in de bottle an crime might be more like ah genie dan ah vampire; plea bargainin or not.

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June 2014
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