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Murder worry

Tim Slinger

Murder worry

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THE GRANTING OF bail to murder accused has become a major headache for the Royal Barbados Police Force.
And Chief Justice of Barbados Sir Marston Gibson has been asked to look into the matter since an increasing number of accused killers, who were released on bail, have found themselves before the law courts again on a second murder charge.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock QC, told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday the situation was a serious and grave development which warranted discussion with the judicial powers.
“The matter has been drawn to my attention by the police and I’ve actually written to the Chief Justice hoping that we can discuss the issue. The level of recidivism is extremely high,” he said.
According to statistics obtained by this newspaper, over the past four years 35 murder accused have been granted bail by the High Court, while 12, after being released, have been rearrested and charged in connection with a second murder, mostly involving guns and knives.
Efforts to reach the Chief Justice for comment on the matter yesterday proved futile.
But Leacock, describing the matter a “source of grave concern”,  said the situation was one that had to be addressed and warned of the danger of it being left unattended.
“It really does undermine the confidence in the justice system as well as impacting on public safety,” the DPP added.
 Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith said he was aware of the communication sent to the CJ.
“The judicial system is made up of several players; the judges, the magistrates, the DPP, the police and the lawyers and I believe all of us have an important role to play,” he said.
The top cop said that very often difficult decisions had to be taken but the level of reoffending, especially by those charged with capital offences, had become a major concern to the force.
“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter but we have to be responsible and look at the bigger picture and remember that safety is a priority in the society,” he added.
According to the records, at least four justices granted bail to individual murder accused with one particular judge granting freedom to 17 applicants while two other judges okayed bail in ten and six separate hearings respectively.
The majority of repeat murders took place in St Michael and Christ Church with one each occurring in St Philip, St John, St Lucy and St Peter.