Barbados Lawyers And Judges Can’t Be Too Hard On Their Own – They Never Know When They Might Need A Light Sentence Too!
True to form, the old boys’ network reluctantly imposed only a nine-month suspension on a Barbados lawyer who was caught stealing $150,000 of client’s money from his “trust” account. Just to put this in perspective, anywhere in the civilized world a lawyer could expect a year or two in jail and permanent disbarment for similar activities. Not so in Barbados where the legal profession is apparently happy to accept Mortimer Clarke back into its welcoming arms after he has a little vacation. (“Pity you had a client complain, Morty old chap. We’ll have to make a show of it for a few months. Hope you understand.”)
By international standards, this laughable “sentence” against Attorney Mortimer Clarke isn’t a “slap on the wrist” – it is a kiss and a hug. But you’d never know that from the Nation News article that declares the decision read by Chief Justice Sir David Simmons was “tough talking”. (link here)
My fellow citizens, a nine-month suspension for a crooked lawyer is a national disgrace. More than that, it threatens our status as an offshore center for finance and corporations and it dirties the reputation of every honest Barbados lawyer.
A teacher who molests students has broken a sacred trust and for this reason is punished more severely than an ordinary person. Similarly a police officer who steals property under his care can look forward to more jail time than an ordinary thief.
There are good reasons for this standard, but in Barbados our lawyers have other standards.
Please take the time to read our original article on the Mortimer Clarke case and then let Barbados lawyers know how you feel about their profession.