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Herbert Volney

Anna-Lisa Paul

Former attorney general Garvin Nicholas and retired High Court judge Herbert Volney have added their voices to those calling for swift justice to be delivered on people who breach the law.

Calling for the resumption of whipping – in public – which he believes will be a serious deterrent to many of those found to be guilty of sexual offences, Volney said this particular punishment is already on the law books and just needs to be enforced.

However, both men agreed the establishment of additional courts and the expansion of the magistracy was urgently needed to deal with the ever increasing case-load.

Herbert Volney

Recommending that additional courts be set up to deal with matters that occur presently instead of sending persons to languish in jail for years, the former judge said, “I have always felt that criminals and those who would become criminals, that they are not fearful of the law. There is no consequence to criminality and as a result, they think they can get away with it.”

He added, “They see criminality as a method of enhancement in their own quality of life.”

This, coupled with the risk of getting caught and prosecuted are very slim – “perhaps less than ten per cent, and they are prepared to take their chances and there are few examples for them to see as in years past…when you would see criminals being whipped or jailed. That is not taking place today because of a failing justice system where thousands of cases are lined up waiting to be tried.”

Volney suggested new courts be set up to deal with current matters, while existing courts tackle the back-log of matters waiting to be heard.

He believes if a criminal is tried and convicted within 20 months of being held, “The public will feel a sense of justice being served and will cooperate with law enforcement because they know the criminal has been locked up. The deterrent cannot come 20 years after the crime.”

As the last judge to order whipping, Volney believes the re-introduction of such a corporal act will be a major deterrent to some criminals.

Indicating the punishment was already on the law books, he questioned, “What has happened to this?”

“Any crime involving violence can attract a whipping so why aren’t our judges whipping people again?”

Volney said when detained persons learn that other inmates have been subjected to such punishment which should also be done in the open courtyard to others can see – it will be a deterrent.

He said a hanging in Woodford Square would be much more of a deterrent than a hanging behind closed doors.

Disappointed that the law was there but not being used as it should, Volney said recent and not only old matters must be tried, so this will restore the public’s confidence in the TTPS and the Judiciary.

“When you are waiting on 200 and 300 murder trials to take place, most of which the accused will walk away because witnesses are either bumped off or no longer interested…that is not a deterrent.”

Garvin Nicholas:

“At the moment, every judge and every magistrate has the power to limit or even deny bail based on the circumstances that is before him or her.”

While the move to deny a person bail indefinitely would not be considered good for the justice system or for human rights or for the rule of law, Nicholas said, “What you have to do more than ever is ensure swift justice so that if you are going to deny somebody bail, you must ensure they must be prosecuted in the shortest possible time and therefore, matters cannot be lingering for years or even months because that in itself creates a bigger problem.”

Claiming the deterrent came from persons knowing there would be consequences to their actions, the former Attorney General said when matters continue to drag on and then Pratt and Morgan comes into play to save some persons from the hangman’s noose – it was not off putting for the criminals.

He said, “It must be swift arrest, swift prosecution, and swift justice as that is what criminals would fear the most.”

Calling for a more efficient operation from Forensics Science Centre, Nicholas outlined the shortcomings experienced over the years which he said had hampered the quick prosecution of matters.