Barbados Bar Association President: Police beat confessions from suspects

Will Commissioner Dottin dare to say it isn’t so?

The allegation by Bar Association President Andrew Pilgrim that some Barbados police officers beat confessions from suspects is no surprise in that folks know how things are done ’bout hey when it comes to confessions. What is surprising is that Mr. Pilgrim has thrown down the gauntlet publicly and announced what everyone knows.

The judges must know what is going on – that suspects in detention always seem to “confess” when certain police officers are doing the “interviewing”. It is a wonder that the Barbados judges haven’t almost refused to convict upon confessions, or at least disregarded confessions when considering their verdict. Maybe the judges rationalize that the accused is a career criminal or that the police lack the resources and skills to do a proper investigation.

Mr. Pilgrim is an outspoken lawyer who knows what he is up against, but it is refreshing to see someone with a high profile position refuse to keep silent when is comes to our third-rate police force. The Royal Barbados Police Force doesn’t have to be third-rate, but it will remain so until the politicians decide that policing and citizen safety are priorities, and back it up with the funding to hire, train and retain the quality of police officers that Barbados deserves.

Further Reading

We request that our readers visit The Nation to read Mr. Pilgrim’s comments, but that newspaper has a habit of deleting stories, so we’re forced to publish their article here in order to support our story and commentary. Wish it weren’t so, but it is. Also we’ve copied the article from the dead tree version because it is different than the online version. I guess The Nation couldn’t afford the ink to publish the full version online. 🙂

Bad cops must go!

Keen to have transparency behind the closed doors of the police station, well-known criminal lawyer Andrew Pilgrim says it’s time legislation was enacted for the video and audio recording for the accused.

In a cry for justice, the president of the Barbados Bar Association said he was concerned about the number of convictions based on confessions.

Before an audience at the I’Akobi Youth Resource Centre in Tweedside Road, St Michael, that included Senior Superintendent of Police Mark Thompson, Pilgrim said he was convinced there were some police officers who beat people.

“I will go to my grave with the view . . . . There are good police and there are not. There are lawyers who steal money and there are lawyers who do not.

“There are police in Barbados who beat people. We don’t have any way of checking what they do or don’t do. We don’t have any tape recording or Justice of the Peace present. They can do what they like. I see the wounds on people.

“We have to weed out the bad lawyers and we have to weed out the bad police. There is much work to do,” said Pilgrim, who was speaking on the topic Search, Seizure And Unlawful Arrest, the first in a series of sessions undertaken by the Rastafarian community celebrating International Year For People Of African Descent.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Ethics, Human Rights