...Ramlogan: No conspiracy
The differing views of the Independent Senators on the repeal of section 34 were evidence that there was no conspiracy by the Government to favour any accused persons, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said yesterday.
"I think it underscores the three way structure of the Senate and augurs well for our democracy and it also debunks the idea that the Government was involved in some political conspiracy to free certain persons because the Independents were actually against repealing the provision and therefore since they supported the retention of this controversial provision it would also mean that they supported the consequences of same,"said Ramlogan.
At 11.50 p.m after just over 10 hours of debate in the Senate on Thursday, the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) (Amendment) Act was passed with 25 members ( 15 government, six Opposition and four Independent senators) voting for and five Independent Senators voting against.
Independent Senators Elton Prescott SC, Corinne Baptiste-McKnight, Dr Rolph Balgobin, James Armstrong and Lennox Bernard voted against the amendments.
In wrapping up the debate and in support of the repeal of Section 34 on Thursday night, Ramlogan paid tribute to attorneys who had volunteered their legal opinions on clause 34 at no cost.
He said he was initially thinking of amending the section adding, "it is a rather attractive argument but it can also be a very deceptive and dangerous one".
Ramlogan said amending the section would have posed problems as a judge would have been left to decide whether a person could go free or not without any guiding principles.
"We would have preserved a new avenue, an escape route for criminals that did not exist before in our legal system which is to make an application after ten years and you could get off," he said.