Before the exhaustive six-day search for Andrea Bharatt came to a tragic end yesterday, Police Commissioner Gary Griffith sent out a fresh appeal for the proclamation of the Bail Amendment Bill.
Speaking at a press conference at the Police Administration building in Port-of-Spain yesterday, Griffith noted that one of the suspects in Bharatt’s case had 45 cases pending before the courts.
Earlier this week, a former attorney for the suspect told another media house the police had ‘bungled’ over 35 of the 70 different charges of which the man was accused, causing them to be dismissed.
But yesterday Griffith said it was not police inaction.
He said the police were ready to proceed.
Griffith said the issue lies with the continuous granting of bail to repeat and violent offenders. He said for too long, the scales of justice have been tilted in the favour of criminals. He said five different magistrates would have given bail almost immediately to the suspect when he appeared before them.
“I have been saying over and over that we need the Bail Amendment Bill to be passed so that persons with sophisticated assault rifles or being involved in violent crime should be held inside for 120 days,” Griffith said.
Addressing the death of one suspect, Andrew Morris in police custody, Griffith said there was no information released to the public in an effort to protect Bharatt, wherever she was being held.
“Suppose there are three individuals, and two persons have the victim subdued and they are holding that person and a third individual is now being held by police and he dies, and there is a perception he may have died during a confrontation with police. Do you in any way see there is a possibility this could affect the safety of the victim? That is my point. My focus is on the safety of the victim.”
Griffith denied that Morris’ family was not informed of his death until Wednesday. He sent out a call to anyone who wanted to make allegations of excessive force by police to make their statements to investigators.
However, he said anyone found fabricating stories will be charged with wasting police time.
Griffith said he will wait on the results of an autopsy before he makes any other statement on Morris’ death.