Leslie Haynes QC, the President of the Barbados Bar Association, is whining in the Nation about how tough it is to be a lawyer these days when the public over-reacts to a few bad apples.
Our message for Mr. Hayes:
Everyone understands a few bad apples in any profession – it is the Bar Association’s long and sordid history of excusing thefts, covering up for the “old boys’ network” and failing to protect the interests of citizens that has the public concerned.
Oh for sure, the Bar Association has lately paraded a few crooked lawyers in public or before the courts, but that’s nothing compared to decades of the Disciplinary Committee going easy on their fellow lawyers and even welcoming them back with open arms after a few months “suspension” – while the lives of their victims are destroyed.
Let’s review a few stories and then open up the discussion, shall we?
“It has now been clearly established that the Barbados Bar Association does not consider it a big deal for a lawyer to steal $130,000 as long as the lawyer returns the money when caught. According to the Disciplinary Committee of the Barbados Bar Association, a simple reprimand is a suitable penalty.
No disbarment. No criminal charges. No Jail.”
“Attorney Balfour Layne and all the big-name lawyers of Disciplinary Committee of the Barbados Bar Association didn’t know the law – which is pretty pathetic by any standard…”
“According to our friend at BGR, it is mostly foreign nationals who are taking crooked Bajan lawyers to court. Is this an indication that crooked Bajan lawyers target mostly foreigners – or that foreigners are more likely to be respected and protected by the police and courts than domestic victims?”
“Folks were recently surprised to read in the Nation News that a crooked Barbados lawyer had actually been criminally charged with stealing from clients. Usually the Barbados Bar Association does everything it can to “handle” such situations internally. By processing complaints of theft through the so-called disciplinary committee, the lawyers make sure that their own kind don’t get hurt too badly…”
“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.”)…”