The police commissioner is expected to meet soon with the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT), to discuss the possibility of rogue attorneys facilitating criminal acts.
The LATT recently wrote to the top cop, advising him to charge any lawyers that were deliberately breaking the law.
While he acknowledges that where attorneys are concerned, sometimes they may seem to be operating at cross purposes to the police, in defence of their clients, Commissioner Gary Griffith argues that the association should be aware there may be rogue elements among its ranks, and something must be done.
“There may very well be persons who have abused process and they have gone across the line,” he says, “much more than just being there to defend their clients.”
The top cop has confirmed that several members of the legal fraternity have been red-flagged and are under police probe.
“I am speaking about using your position to go into the prison to have dialogue with the individual—not to defend them—but to be able to pass on information as to hits, where drugs should be, who should be hired, what state contracts you should get, or even being a conduit for money laundering,” Commissioner Griffith explains. “That’s where there is a difference between a ‘criminal lawyer’ and a ‘lawyer criminal’. I am going after the ‘lawyer criminals’.”
Mr Griffith is concerned that the scales of justice seem to be tilted more in favour of the criminals, rather than law abiding citizens, and maintains that needs to change.
He’s gone on record as stating that the judiciary needs to exercise more discretion when allowing bail to persons coming before them, especially if it is a case where the person poses a serious threat to the public for violent crime.
According to the Commissioner, if a criminal realises that he could be back out on the streets on bail, within 24 hours of being held for committing a crime—such as illegal possession of assault weapons—then there is nothing to deter or prevent that person from not committing that crime again. He says they will simply do it.
“Crime is a product of opportunity. The greater the deterrent,” he points out, “the less likelihood there is persons would commit crime, because there is a greater possibility of persons being apprehended.”
Story by NEWS DESK