FORMER independent senator Martin Daly, SC, says Government and Opposition Members of Parliament and Senators failed citizens of this country.
Daly made the statement on Wednesday evening in an interview with head of TV6 News Dominic Kalipersad during the TV6 newscast.
Questions were asked of Daly surrounding the public outcry which has come in the wake of the August 30 proclamation, by President George Maxwell Richards, of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011.
The contentious Section 34 has since been repealed, as Parliament had convened Wednesday in emergency session in order to debate it after concerns were raised by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Opposition.
The debate continued yesterday in the Senate.
The Act replaced the Preliminary Enquiry Act and negates the need for a preliminary enquiry to be held in relation to matters filed indictably. Indictable matters will now go to a Master of the High Court by way of paper committal, where all the evidence and supporting documents will be filed in the registry of the Supreme Court.
However, Section 34 addresses the discharge of accused persons on the ground of delay if the prosecution of matters has not commenced in the High Court within ten years of the commission of the alleged offence. Offences not covered under Section 34 are contained in Schedule 6 of the Act and include murder, manslaughter, kidnapping for ransom, rape, grievous sexual assault, sexual assault with a female under the age of 14, incest, buggery, trafficking in persons, possession of a dangerous drug for the purpose of trafficking and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Daly said Section 34 would not have caused such contention if white collar crimes, including terrorism, money laundering, corruption offences and offences under the Integrity in Public Life Act, were also included as part of Schedule 6.
"I do not understand how anybody could have forgotten about money laundering," Daly said. "Money laundering is on the front burner of almost every country in the world that has a bank... even a penny bank. How could they have missed that?
"And yes, the Government having brought the Bill in that form, I believe one or two independent senators referred to the fact that they (white collar crimes) were not included, but nobody took the cue."
Daly said yesterday's debate, convened in the Lower House to repeal Section 34, was designed to deflect responsibility for the omissions.
He agreed with Kalipersad that the omissions lend weight to the argument of political conspiracy. "That is why it is being so deflected. Of course the Opposition is labouring under the difficulty that they also missed it. This is not about an abundance of caution, it is about an abundance of failure on the part of Parliament."
Daly said the Ministers who piloted the Bill should be held accountable and an explanation must be given.
He said he is not confident repealing the offensive section would solve the problems in relation to individuals who filed applications to have their matter dismissed before the section is repealed.
"I am not so sure that they would be able to simply wish away arguments about legitimate expectations and vested rights. The courts will have to tell. A lot more money will be spending before we know the answer."