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Young defends Al-Rawi on PI bill

CLINT CHAN TACK Saturday, March 18 2017

MINISTER in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs Stuart Young yesterday defended Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi against attacks from the Opposition. In his contribution to debate on the Pre-Trial Procedure Bill 2017 which was passed last night by a split vote of 19 for and 16 against, Young said Al-Rawi is working tirelessly to ensure that the criminal justice system becomes more efficient because, “it is an important cog in the wheel about being able to deliver an effective fight against crime in this country.”

While there is majority consensus that preliminary inquiries have become an unnecessary burden on the system, Young said, “I have noticed a trend that is taking place.”

He said every time Al-Rawi brings anti-crime legislation to Parliament, the Opposition is openly attacking him. Describing these attacks as, “completely personal and without merit,” Young said, “They are trying to link a statement that he made with respect to the need for constitutionality of certain legislation.” Having examined the bill himself and having had conversations with various experts on it, Young declared, “There is absolutely no offending of the Constitution in this bill as it finds itself before this House today.” Referring to Sections 13, 4, 5 and 54 of the Constitution, Young said, “So the argument that we are hearing that it requires a special majority is quite simply a non-argument.”

After pointing out the legislation establishes, “time frames on getting an accused before the court,” Young said this is being opposed by, “certain persons trying to protect their turf and their domain and not the rights of their clients.” Young, who is an attorney by profession, said this bill will, “avoid attorneys from having the opportunity of earning two sets of fees for the same sets of facts.”

Young rejected what he said was a naked attempt by the Opposition to claim the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) could be politically swayed by a sitting government since the prime minister possesses a veto power regarding who could be appointed to that office. Explaining that the Constitution clothes the DPP with a degree of insularity, Young declared, “That is an argument that is bound to fail.”

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