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Prosecutors of the future


GERCINE CARTER

Prosecutors of the future

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British Queen’s Counsel Paul Garlick has just shared some of his extensive knowledge with Barbadian prosecutors at a training course organised through the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Government’s Administration and Training Division.
In an interview with the Weekend Nation towards the end of the course, Garlick explained: “We are really over here to broaden their [prosecutors’] minds, give them some insight into the way that the other common law countries in the Commonwealth are working on the big problems like money laundering, international transnational crime, the way to prosecute those cases and comparing the Barbados legislation with some of the UK legislation.”
Very similar
Noting the legislation in the two jurisdictions was very similar, Garlick said he sought to help the prosecutors see how they could use the legislation more innovatively, and to help them extend their skills base.
The British-born and trained lawyer was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1996. He was doing a mixture of prosecution and advisory work for British companies and corporations, particularly in the international criminal law field, when he got involved with the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Through the secretariat he first came to Barbados in 1999 and started a course for the Law Faculty at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and also advised them on the curriculum for an international criminal law course. The next year he was asked to come back to Barbados to run an advocacy training course for those students.
Since that time, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad has benefited from the kind of expertise, which he is now sharing with the Barbadian prosecutors. 
“I am very impressed with the staff of the DPP. They are all extremely good, extremely hard-working; they are so overworked,” Garlick remarked.
“I wanted to give them some more tools in their toolbox.”
The legal expert specialises in extradition and mutual legal systems and confiscation of assets “all really, really, very important aspects for any jurisdiction like Barbados anywhere in this region”.
“In the United Kingdom we have moved on a little bit since the Common Law. We now have statutory procedures to deal with such things as the confiscation of assets and the prosecutors would simply love to have some of these powers, and I think it will happen because the government is becoming aware that they need to do more. They need to have more statutory powers rather than common law powers,” Garlick observed.
Judging from the response at the course, he expressed the view that the Barbadian prosecutors really wanted these powers.
This is why he says about the Health and Safety at Work Act just passed by Parliament: “It should be brought into force because it is very, very important that serious accidents at work which may result in fatalities are dealt with not just by the civil law, but by the criminal law.
“It is a fantastic act of Parliament, though it has not yet been proclaimed,” he remarked.
He is convinced the prosecutors “do need more tools; they need international tools; they need some legislation to bring things up into the 21st century”.
“But that said, I think the government is passing these acts,” he added.
Obsolete
Still he reiterated: “I think that some of the laws on evidence need to be brought up to date with current situations; they need to be able to deal by way of legislation with the sort of evidence you get in international criminal cases – international banking evidence, computer evidence.
“Requests to foreign states for very specific banking evidence could perhaps be improved. Within the region it is much easier for government to government to have arrangements to pass over to each other, but internationally the system needs to be streamlined.”
Garlick believes the death sentence is “untenable”. Careful to point out he was expressing his personal view, he said: “I have worked with the European Court on Human Rights for years, and I am absolutely convinced there is no basis upon which you should have the death sentence.”
He noted the effect drugs and socio-economic deprivation were having on crime in Britain and in other parts of the world.

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