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DPP knocks statement by Bar Association

DPP knocks statement by Bar Association

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The claim by the Bar Association, that the arrest of Senator Vynnette Frederick was illegal, has been described by Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams as “grossly inaccurate”.{{more}}

Williams, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT Wednesday evening, said that while the Bar Association has cited the correct section of the law, the Association has not applied the law to the facts.

“They quote the correct section of the law, but they have not applied their minds, and they have not applied the law to the facts. If they do that, they would realize that they are grossly inaccurate in stating that her arrest requires a warrant,” Williams said.

Williams said he is unable to speak to whether or not the police had a warrant for Frederick’s arrest.

“Maybe they did, but in any event, there was no requirement, based on the law they have cited and the charges she faces, for the police to have a warrant.

“So if they had applied their minds to the substance of the law, rather than trying to be political, they would not have made such a statement,” the DPP said.

In a release issued Wednesday (see page 5), the Bar Association said it is “deeply troubled that Senator Frederick’s arrest without a warrant, satisfied none of the grounds on which an arrest can be made without a warrant as set out in section 30 of the Criminal Procedure Code CAP 171, Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Revised Edition 2009. The arrest was therefore unlawful.”

However on examination, SEARCHLIGHT found that the Criminal Procedure Code is actually CAP 172, not CAP 171. Section 30 of the CAP 171 (The Criminal Code) deals with suspended sentence, while Section 30 of the Criminal Procedure Code CAP 172, Laws of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Revised Edition 2009 deals with arrest by a police officer without a warrant.

That section states:

30. (1) Any police officer may, without an order from a magistrate and without a warrant, arrest —

(a) any person whom he suspects upon reasonable grounds of having committed an indictable offence;

(b) any person who commits in his presence any offence punishable by imprisonment;

(c) any person who obstructs a police officer while in the execution of his duty, or who has escaped, or attempts to escape, from lawful custody;

(d) any person in whose possession anything is found which may reasonably be suspected to be stolen property, or who may reasonably be suspected of committing, or having committed, an offence with reference to such thing;

(e) any person whom he suspects upon reasonable grounds of having been concerned in any act committed at any place out of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines which if committed in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines would have been punishable as an offence, and for which he is under the Fugitive Offenders Act, or any other law relating to extradition and in force in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, or otherwise liable to be apprehended and detained in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines;

(f) any person whom he suspects upon reasonable grounds of having in his possession, without lawful excuse, any implement of housebreaking;

(g) any person for whom he reasonably believes a warrant of arrest has been issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

(2) A police officer knowing of a design to commit any offence may arrest the person so designing if it appears to such officer that the commission of the offence cannot otherwise be prevented.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be held to limit or modify the operation of any other law empowering a police officer to arrest without a warrant.

On July 11, Frederick was arrested and charged with three counts of making a false declaration and three counts of swearing falsely under Section 96 of the Criminal Code, Chapter 171 of the Revised Edition of the Laws of SVG 2009.

She was also charged with three counts of fabricating evidence under section 101(a) of the Criminal Code, Chapter 171 of the laws of SVG 2009.

Section 101 (Fabrication of evidence) Criminal Code 171/ 2009 states: Any person, who with intent to mislead any court (a) fabricates evidence; or (b) knowingly makes use of fabricated evidence is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for seven years.

A legal expert yesterday advised SEARCHLIGHT that this offence is triable on indictment, and therefore ostensibly satisfies section 30 1 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code CAP 172, permitting a police officer to arrest a suspect without a warrant.

Williams also commented that he found it interesting that the Bar Association has spoken out on this matter.

“It is interesting to see that the Bar Association, all of a sudden, has broken its silence and spoken on something, because all the things we have had over the years, we have never heard an utterance from the Bar Association.”

The DPP said there was no comment from the Bar Association when recently, former national footballer Dwaine Sandy was arrested twice on suspicion of robbery and shooting a police officer, but was released without being charged.

Also, when legislation pertaining to the magistracy and the recording of interviews of suspects was passed, there was no comment from the Bar Association, he said.

“They remained silent on all these ground breaking things, but all of a sudden, when it comes to somebody they label as a senator, although the Bar Association itself does not recognize senators, because it is kit and kin, we have Maia Eustace, who is the daughter of the Leader of the Opposition, circulating this statement.”

Maia Eustace, an executive committee member of the Bar Association, circulated the Bar Association statement on behalf of secretary of the Association, Samantha Robertson.

Williams said he considers the statement from the Bar Association a “political statement”.

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