Judiciary condemns ‘fear factor’ comments in Bail debate
Sunday, February 2 2014
The Judiciary has rejected statements made in the Senate last week which inferred that judges and magistrates considered the “fear factor” in making their decisions, including the granting of bail to accused persons.
During the Committee stage of the Bail Amendment Bill, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and two Independent senators said the fear factor was why bail was consistently granted to seasoned criminals.
In a statement sent out yesterday by Jones P Madeira, Court Protocol and Information Manager, the Judiciary said the comments, which it described as “offensive” and “extremely unfortunate” were “irresponsible, dangerous and can only serve to undermine public trust and confidence in the institution and its officers.”
The Judiciary noted that before judges and magistrates assume office, the Constitution demands that they swear to an oath or affirm solemnly that they will bear true faith and allegiance to Trinidad and Tobago and will uphold the Constitution and the law, that they will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of their knowledge, judgment and ability discharge the functions of their office and do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of Trinidad and Tobago without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
It said the Constitution was categorical that such an officer shall not enter upon the duties of his office unless he or she has taken and subscribed to the oath of allegiance and the oath for the due execution of his or her office.
The Judiciary said it does not have a history of its officers breaching their oath out of fear, and assures the national community that it will continue steadfastly, scrupulously and rigorously to ensure adherence by judicial officers to those enshrined principles that govern their practice.
The Judiciary said it rejected the statements and the innuendos that attended the deliberations last week, and called for introspection and a deeper understanding and appreciation of the potential damage that such statements, uttered especially by the nation’s leaders, could have on institutions such as the Judiciary that are duty bound to discharge their functions to all citizens without fear or favour.