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Judge throws support behind police officers

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His Lordship Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle has joined this country’s Prime Minister and Commissioner of Police, by throwing his support behind the the men and women who have sworn to protect and serve this country.{{more}}

Bruce-Lyle, speaking at the end of the 2008 Assizes on Friday last, handed out commendations to the high command and constabulary of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, at a time when accusations of abuse and brutality are being hurled in their direction on an almost weekly basis.

Justice Bruce-Lyle came to the defence of the officers, claiming that not all of them are as portrayed. “The negative comments from the press are based on a small minority. The majority of police are working very well or crime would have been in a worse state.”

“Mr. Commissioner, do not be disheartened, do better in 2009 and you will have my full support!” the judge said.

His Lordship indicated that the police and court all have the same objective, which is to see that justice is done and to try to maintain a crime free society.

The judge also spoke regarding the prisons, saying that the situation at the centuries old institution is a very explosive one.

The members of the jury panels were lauded for their attendance and work by the judge, who noted that this year, verdicts of guilty were returned in all cases heard – a first in his tenure on the bench.

He also commended the prison authorities for keeping a tight lid on the situation and also acknowledged that there were “some conniving prison officers,” and a few cases of abuse.

Earlier in the wrapping up of the assizes, Assistant Superintendant of Her Majesty’s Prisons Linus Goodluck, who spoke on behalf of Superintendant Eric Rodriguez, expressed that with the grace of God, that things would stay under control at the prisons.

Looking forward, Goodluck said that he expects 2009 to be a challenging period, especially with plans to transfer inmates to the new prison at Belle Isle in a few months time.

Goodluck indicated that presently there are 401 persons who call Her Majesty’s Prisons home; 391 of them are male.

Also addressing the closing ceremony were Director of Public Prosecutions Collin Williams who also commended the jurors, the police high command, and all persons who contributed to the successful sitting of the assizes.

While summing up the last four months of trials, defence attorney Nicole Sylvester pointed out some areas where she felt there needed to be improvements. She highlighted what she referred to as the “sloppiness” of police investigation and record keeping, court security and the times when some jurors were apparently sleeping during cases.

The assizes began on September 16th, and saw 64 matters up for hearing.

Of the 64, twenty-one were dealt with.

The next sitting of the assizes will begin in January next year.