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Lawyer justifies High Court granting bail

A well-known criminal lawyer has taken issue with concerns by a senior official of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) over the granting of bail to persons allegedly caught with large amounts of drugs and guns.

Attorney-at-Law, Patrice Henry told Demerara Waves Online News that the criticism leveled against Chief Justice Ian Chang was out of order because the CANU official failed to consider Constitutional guarantees and the slothfulness of the court system.

“Additionally a justice system that is over burdened as ours cannot ensure a fair trial within a reasonable time. Further the inmates must have hope that justice would be served,” he said.

Henry noted that Guyana’s Constitution guarantees that every citizen is presumed innocent irrespective of the nature of the allegation or the identity of the individual.

The practicing lawyer urged law enforcement officials not to allow themselves to be motivated by being judge, jury and executioner. “Law enforcement official cannot allow themselves to be motivated by being judge jury and executioner.  They will always be created and rewarded for good investigative work but need to understand their limitations and not comment on areas of the law outside their scope,” said Henry.

Accused persons refused bail by Magistrates sometimes move to the High Court to secure bail after representations are made by their defence lawyers and the Director of Public Prosecutuions (DPP) chambers. “DPP is represented at every bail hearing and thus fairness and justice are alway s exercised,”  said Henry.

The senior CANU official on Saturday expressed grave concern about the granting of GUY$4 million bail each to Barry Dataram and two others for allegedly being in possession of 129 kilogrammes of cocaine on April 16, 2015 at a house at Diamond, East Bank Demerara. Dataram, through legal maneuvers, has evaded extradition to the United States where he is wanted for drug trafficking.

The High Court has also granted GUY$10 million bail to Clyde Prescott for allegedly attempting to smuggle 178 kilogrammes of cocaine stashed in charcoal to the United States.