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2004-11-30 16:42:28

Crime and Whiff of Corruption

The politicians should get on board, and show that they are also concerned about the whiff of stench in the air.

The Bahamas is a place where practically anything goes, and a place where it is said that everyone and everything has a price.

While we do not necessarily agree with this cynical piece of street philosophy, we are coming to the point where we cannot dismiss it out of hand. Take for example the outrage over the matter concerning the police officer who refused to attend court in a matter involving murder and the public search for justice.

However it came to be that a man accused of murder could be allowed “to walk' the police and their public relations handlers need to know that no amount of chatter about how things are improving can even begin to breeze away the stench surrounding the handling of the matter involving the man who had allegedly killed someone: who had been charged; who was about to be tried; and who is today a freed man, thanks to the actions of a police officer, and the consequent decision of a Justice of The Supreme Court.

All we can say is that this is The Bahamas.

As we thought back on this matter over the weekend, the thought occurred to us to find out whether anything quite like this had gone down in recent memory. And lo and behold, we found just what we were searching for.

It comes under the head: Incompetent Prosecution, Increased Crime.

It concerns the outcome of another murder trial. The letter is dated November 7th. 2002.

Its author is identified as “A Concerned Citizen, Looking For Answers'.

Concerned Citizen reports that “James Miller of Malcolm Road, walked away from Supreme Court a free man on Wednesday after Justice Anita Allen accepted a "no case to answer" submission from his defense attorney Murrio Ducille.

“He had faced three counts of murder and four counts of grievous harm. On April 17, 2001 two men opened fire on several individuals during a Dominoes game. Bernice Strachan identified Miller as one of the shooters but in subsequent statements she changed her description of the shooter. Justice Allen stated that she felt Ms. Strachan had been prompted and that she was no longer a credible witness. As there was no other evidence Justice Allen felt she had no choice but to acquit Miller.

“This was cold blooded murder. Why was there no other evidence? Surely, these thug-minded criminals weren't so clever to escape without a trace. Three people were left dead and four injured. Why weren't the four injured considered witnesses? Why wasn't there an in depth investigation put forth by the CID? Where were the criminologists to analyze clues and DNA at the scene of the crime? Why was there only one witness and what made her change her testimony? Why is she not charged with making false statements?

“Why is it that The Bahamas can never seem to resolve cases like this quickly and efficiently, even though there are only a few thousand in the entire population of the country who could qualify as suspects, and we are in a closed (island) community. Criminals can't exactly jump in a car and speed off to Mexico, or get lost in a population of millions, as is the case in the US. Yet the US usually gets their man, take the sniper case for example. Why can't we ever get our man?

“Maybe the Police Force is inadequately staffed. Actually, 70% of the force has been said to be corrupt. I personally know of three different young men all in their early 20's, who expressed interest in becoming police officers purely so that they could run drugs without being caught. Two of these young men are active police officers today. Running drugs is probably the least of our crime concerns right now with rapes, robberies and murders occurring everyday, but it shows the moral standards of the men we place our trust in.

“With 41 rapes in September alone and no one charged for the crimes, and with such inadequate investigations that allow possible murderers to walk free - I don't think we're ready to celebrate Police Appreciation Week just yet. The police have too much work to do to stop even for a second right now. The thugs who robbed Club Med at gunpoint last night still need to be caught, for example.

“One area of failure is having police officers act as prosecutors in the courts. They are not trained for this and far too often lose a good case because they were not skilled enough, educated enough or interested enough to combat some wily lawyer who is being paid big bucks to defend the guilty. Victims who are forced to rely on an inexperienced prosecutor are being dealt a grave injustice by not having their cases properly presented before the court…'

Concerned Citizen has all the right in the world to be concerned. So too are we. The politicians should get on board, and show that they are also concerned about the whiff of stench in the air.

Editorial, The Bahama Journal
29 November, 2004

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