Home Letters Chancellor/Chief Justice should issue practice direction
I read with great interest the concerns of the acting Police Commissioner in Guyana about the method of granting of bail by judges and magistrates in the country, Acting Commissioner David Ramnarine had to be hopping mad to publicly criticise judges and magistrates for granting bail to accused persons who have no regard for law and order.
It seems to me that the Top Cop is correct to be concerned and although he might be criticised in certain quarters I think he is quite in order to let the public know how he feels and something should be done by those in authority to correct the situation.
I do not know if there are guidelines for the granting of bail in Guyana. If not the Chancellor and/or Chief Justice should issue a Practice Direction setting out the guidelines. Like murder and treason, no bail should be allowed to persons charged with gun related offences and if the accused persons are likely to flee or tamper with witnesses.
Of course bail should not be granted if the offence was committed while the accused/defendant/ is on bail.
Judicial Officers should follow the guidelines in Archbold and other text books on criminal law. It does not auger well for the police and magistrates and judges to be at loggerhead. They ought to work in harmony in the dispensation of justice. I gather that lawyers move swiftly to the High Court for bail after they were denied by magistrates, and it seems that some judges are too quick to override decisions made by the interior court.
On the other hand the prisons are overpopulated and maybe that is taken into consideration in bail applications.
All in all a broad and closer look should be taken in the judicial system in the country. The Head of the Judiciary, Carl Singh, has been acting as Chancellor for more than a decade and Ian Chang has retired before being confirmed as Chief Justice and I recall that Jai Narain Singh Jr who acted as a judge for a decade was never confirmed before his retirement.
I note that David Ramnarine is acting and not yet confirmed as Commissioner.