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It’s not a bad thing to first get all the facts


We live in a rush to judgement era, where we convict first and collect evidence later.

St Vincent and the Grenadines is as much a part of this phenomenon as is the rest of the world, but we hope two incidents that occurred here recently have reminded us of the importance of the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise.{{more}}

The first incident occurred two weeks ago when a man, who had been accused of violent attacks on three women in the Kingstown area, was brutally kicked and beaten by a group of persons in an attempt to apprehend (and punish) him.

The beating was videotaped and circulated on social media, prompting police to issue a bulletin asking the public to leave the man alone, as he was not of interest to them in relation to the attacks on the women.

Other than the man having been convicted of a similar offence a few years ago, we do not know why he had been suspected of having committed the recent attacks. What we do know is that persons who we normally do not associate with irresponsible behaviour had been circulating a voice note and photograph on social media, identifying the man as the attacker.

A rush to judgement resulted in an innocent man being beaten and normally law-abiding citizens now possibly having to answer to criminal charges, having attacked the man, thinking they were apprehending a wanted man.

Nigerian con artistes have not only been successful at dishonesty, depriving thousands of people of millions of dollars, their actions have made people all over the world sceptical of transacting business with anyone of that nationality.

So it was when last December, SEARCHLIGHT carried a story about a Nigerian medical student who had been charged with dishonestly obtaining EC$10,000 cash from the Bank of Nova Scotia, very few persons, if any, considered that the young man may have been innocent of the charges.

What a shock to learn last week that the Director of Public Prosecutions had made a decision to discontinue the charges after an acknowledgement from the bank that its earlier report of dishonesty against the student “may not be sustainable”!

All who had already brought the young man guilty need to do some self-examination.

It’s not a bad thing to get all the facts before forming an opinion.