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CJ: We are to blame

HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, ​[email protected]

CJ: We are to blame

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The island’s top judge has conceded there was a “systemic failure” in a former high-profile, multimillion-dollar drug case involving six Guyanese and accepted responsibility yesterday.

But the attorney for one of the men was not mollified, as he blasted the judicial system for being “woeful and in trouble”, saying the Court of Appeal had been ordered by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to expedite the matter three years ago.

In the time it took for the Court of Appeal to deliver its decision, two of four of the drug traffickers, who appealed, ended up serving their sentences and being deported, while two, who did not appeal, completed their jail time and were also deported.

However, Lemme Michael Campbell and Rohan Shastri Rambarran, who did appeal, spent 13 years and nine years, respectively, including their time on remand, while waiting on the decision. Yesterday, they walked out in the company of immigration officers as they were given time served.

“It’s approximately nine years that this appeal was subject to the appellate process and there is no justification for this excessive lapse of time. In these circumstances, we accept and take responsibility for the systemic failure,” Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson said as he delivered the judgement in the Court of Appeal. (HLE)

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