Tag Archives: Barbados Justice

Self defense or murder? A woman’s life is only worth five years in jail.

UPDATED: February 11, 2012

Our Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Leacock, has a record for going easy on killers of women. We’d like to see a list drawn up that features the worst of his deal-making during sentencing. The DPP’s motto seems to be “Anything to avoid a murder trial”. By now the word must be out there in the criminal world that nobody ever gets convicted of murder in Barbados: you can always do a deal.

Here’s a previous incident, but we wonder how many slip by. Feel free to list some of the other incidents that come to mind…

Barbados Chief Prosecutor: Woman “provoked” her killer by refusing sex, therefore not murder.

The Nation on Tuesday Feb 7th : “Man who killed ex-girlfriend put away for five years”.

I am wondering if there has been any discussion or outrage about this, and I have missed it. It just seems outrageous that the convicted man claims a very suspect situation to be self-defense and has been taken at his word. That the court sees fit to sentence this man to mere 5 years (which in prison time is not actually) is maddening to me! I’m sure this woman, Sonia Phillips’, family is being punished all over again at this injustice.

At the same time we are all discussing Raul Garcia who got 15 years for his offense. So if this murderer had weed in his possession at the time, he would get more time for the weed than for killing this woman?

It seems in this system a woman’s life is worth a lot less than a shipment of drugs. This is outrageous!!

I hope more people speak out about this, not just for women, but for all the murder victims in Barbados whose killers get insultingly low sentences. I speak from tragically personal experience on this issue.

Thank you for your time, and please help me speak out about this issue.

Name provided, withheld by BFP editor

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Filed under Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Human Rights

Attorney General challenges David Comissiong: You don’t really care about Raul Garcia

Adriel Brathwaite - Attorney General

“Just sign for the prisoner here, Mr. Comissiong”

In the language of poker Barbados Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite just told David Comissiong and the Peoples Empowerment Party to “Put up or shut up.”

Responding to Comissiong’s criticism about the government continuing to hold Raul Garcia in prison for two years after he finished his 17 year sentence for drug offences, Mr. Brathwaite offered to release Garcia into Comissiong’s custody and care.

The only condition is that lawyer David Comissiong must take Raul Garcia into his home, guarantee Garcia’s behaviour and that he will not leave the home until the matter is settled… which could take years at the current rate of non-progress.

Aside from the political grandstanding by both Brathwaite and Comissiong, the Attorney General has a point about the practical considerations of the Raul Garcia situation: What do we do with him? Garcia’s son Frank has said that there are Bajans who are willing to sign for his father and take him into their homes. How serious are these offers?

Barbados will release Raul Garcia to David Comissiong’s care – if Comissiong agrees

President of the Peoples Empowerment Party, David Comissiong held informal discussions with Brathwaite in Parliament Buildings yard this afternoon, pleading for the release from prison of Garcia.

“He should not be in prison,” Comissiong told the minister.

But Brathwaite informed Comissiong, who is an attorney-at-law, that if he could put him up at his residence and guarantee to him, Brathwaite, that there was where the ex-convict would remain, then he would permit his release. No final decision was taken on that issue.

From Barbados Today story Not ’bout here!

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

Crime and Punishment: Drug smuggler LIAT pilot gets only a fine for 65 pounds of weed

International drug smugglers usually rot in prison for years. Why was the court so easy on Keith Allen?

Admitted drug trafficker and smuggler Keith Richard Otway Allen (above) is a lucky man today because he’s walking free when all reason and legal precedent says he should be in Dodds Prison for years.

Allen spent less than two months in jail after being arrested last November smuggling 65 pounds of cannabis into Barbados. Somebody paid a fine of US$125,000 and Allen walked out a free man. Many men rot away in Dodds for years for far less a quantity of drugs and would love to pay a fine instead. I guess those international drug smugglers aren’t as ‘LUCKY’ as Mr. Allen.

There’s no indication that the judge or Allen’s attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham asked any questions or demanded proof about where the money for the fine really came from. Yup, Allen is one lucky drug smuggler, alright. I wonder if he appreciates how very lucky he is.

Oh yes… Allen is or probably “was” a LIAT pilot, so his drug smuggling involved a certain breach of trust. Of course he got caught during his first time. Everybody gets caught during their first time, don’t they?

Will attorney Sir Richard Cheltenham assist Raul Garcia?

I wonder if Allen’s attorney, Sir Richard Cheltenham, would be so good as to assist Raul Garcia who’s been rotting away in prison for almost 20 years? Mr. Garcia is currently into day 12 of a hunger strike because he is being unjustly held in a maximum security prison on an immigration matter 2 years after being released from serving a 20 year sentence for drug smuggling.

How about it, Sir Richard? Will you take some time to try and assist Mr. Garcia? Please?

Further Reading

Here’s the article from The Nation. Please read it at their website, but we have to put it up here because the Bajan press has this terrible habit of adjusting history when they feel like it… Continue reading

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Filed under Crime & Law, Human Rights, Police

Arch Cot Justice will be delayed another 20 years

Barbados Free Press has yet to write about the Coroner’s verdict in the Arch Cot cave-in deaths because we are waiting to read the entire verdict as is being published in installments in The Barbados Advocate.

In this day and age it is inexcusable that the Coroner herself hasn’t published her complete verdict online, but that’s Buhbadus and doan say it’s not so!

From the start BFP covered the deaths of the Codrington family extensively and it is probably not an exaggeration to say that Barbados would still be waiting for an inquest without BFP, the Codrington family and the other voices who steadily demanded an inquest until the government finally gave in.

Even after the inquest belatedly started, the coroner had to be dragged kicking and screaming into hearing evidence from Professor Hans Machel, a specialist in earth and atmospheric science at the University of Alberta in Canada, who conducted an independent study of the cave after the apartment collapsed.

Although BFP will wait to read the full verdict before commenting in detail, some of what we’ve read in the papers shows that the Barbados news media still has a great reluctance to name names. The Barbados elites are well-protected by the local press. Of course, we at BFP have no reluctance to name the names.

Justice in Barbados: A decades-long process that often never ends

The Codrington family lawyer, David Comissiong, made statements shortly after the verdict that the family would be pursuing legal action in the Barbados courts…

“Based on all of the evidence that was revealed over the past year of this inquest, we feel that we need to take this matter further. We think that these deaths could have been avoided. We think that there are four possible cases of negligence. So we would be exploring all four of those possible cases,”

David Comissiong to the Barbados Advocate

22 Years and counting down

We wonder if the remaining family members really know what they are in for. Barbados is a country where a simple condominium dispute or a pedestrian accident can remain before the courts for more than twenty years with no resolution. Ours is a country where court files and government records appear and reappear for the convenience of the elites and to deny evidence to ordinary folks.

Barbados has a system where there are no court reporters in the civil courts. How does anyone remember or know what really happened in the course of a few hours in court with no records being kept? You may well ask that question… not that you’ll receive a satisfactory answer.

Just last week our Barbados Court of Appeal issued a decision in the 1993 road accident case of Edward Roach. That’s almost 19 years after Mr. Roach was injured, and he still hasn’t been paid a dollar.

What happened at Arch Cot is far more complex than a road accident – by many orders of magnitude. Unfortunately the Barbados Courts will be unable to deliver justice to the Codringtons in under two decades.

Our guess of the time it will take the Barbados courts to reach a decision in the Arch Cot Disaster case: 22 years at minimum.

Here is a recent example of Bajan justice, courtesy of Barbados Today

Still liable despite different decision

Barbados’ Court of Appeal has re-allocated the liability of a substantial monetary award made to a pedestrian injured in a road accident more than 18 years ago. But in the historic decision, made late last month by the highest court in the land, those found responsible will still jointly have to pay the affected individual close to a quarter of a million dollars in damages.

The court, in reaching its judgment, was also forced to go the uncommon route of amending a decision of a trial judge in such matters.

On November 23, 1993 Edward Roach was struck in a collision involving vehicles driven by Nigel Ward, who was driving along Brighton Main Road in the direction of Black Rock Main Road, St. Michael, and Milton Lowe, operator of the other automobile, which was traveling along Farm Road leading onto Brighton Main Road. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster

Magistrate slams Director of Public Prosecutions for withdrawing manslaughter charge against Bjerkhamn

What part does race play in the community’s reaction to the Johan Bjerkhamn sentence?

In a highly unusual comment, Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne publicly criticized Barbados DPP Charles Leacock (photo above) for dropping the manslaughter charge against Johan Bjerkhamn in the accidental shooting death of his son.

“The loss of a child’s life in the manner herein accepted by all parties is serious enough to merit a custodial sentence, even if other relevant considerations lead the court to exercise its discretion not to order such,”

Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne in The Nation: Charge Regrets)

For the record, we at Barbados Free Press are no supporters of DPP Charles Leacock. In our opinion he should have been fired and gone to jail on two occasions unrelated to the Bjerkhamn case. Leacock is corrupt and has a record for abusing women and the law. (Read BFP’s Secret Withdrawal Of Bribery Charges Against Barbados Cop Stinks Of Corruption At The Highest Levels and Barbados Chief Prosecutor: Woman “provoked” her killer by refusing sex, therefore not murder.)

But in relation to the Bjerkhamn shooting, Leacock made the correct decision as we’ve stated in our post – BFP’s Opinion: No jail sentence necessary for Johan Bjerkhamn, but larger issues ignored

Bjerkhamn’s actions on the day his son died came nowhere near the test for manslaughter. He blew his own hand apart as he was handling the Glock pistol, with the bullet traveling on to kill his own 11 year old son after passing through his hand. Stupid? Yes. A moment’s carelessness that he will regret for the rest of his days? Yes. But manslaughter? Give it a rest. It’s not even close.

Coveted Christmas sentencing: Bjerkhamn’s case was adjourned to the coveted sentencing period of the few days before Christmas. This was a transparently manipulative technique to garner sympathy for the accused. It was unnecessary and on an emotional level almost made me want to see him thrown in jail just because we Bajans are tired of seeing the justice system played like a piano by the elites.

Race might have played a role – in the calls to have Bjerkhamn imprisoned.

Some of the reader comments here at BFP and elsewhere on the internet voice the opinion that the manslaughter charge was dropped because Bjerkhamn is white. When he originally left the island for medical treatment after the shooting there was widespread upset because some people, (including some BFP staff) believed he was given special treatment because of his status as a rich white elite.

Now that the facts of the case are fully out in the open in court, it is obvious that the death of 11 year old Luke Bjerkhamn involved one careless moment – probably only a second – with none of the history or other actions and intents necessary to justify manslaughter.

But some folks would love to see Bjerkhamn go to jail just for the pleasure of seeing a rich white elite behind bars. That, my friends, is a simple truth that is behind much of the ‘outrage’ over the reduced charges and sentencing. If you wanted to see Bjerkhamn in jail, look into your own heart and answer yourself truthfully… Did you just want to see one of them behind bars for a time?

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues

Barbados “Mafia” waits for Violet Beckles to die

UPDATED: February 22, 2011 –

The Mafia won: Violet Beckles died on August 23, 2010

With the current fuss in the news about our broken, corrupt and unreliable Land Titles system, this past article about one of the victims of that system deserves a read. Without a reliable, secure and accurate Land Titles system the crooks and their crooked lawyers descend upon the innocent and naive like flies to sugar. (We’re trying to maintain some standards ’round here, you can substitute any word for sugar that you like!)  🙂

As you read about Violet Beckles, be aware that this lawlessness surrounding the ownership of land in Barbados has been thriving for decades – and the lawyers like it so.

Original article first published December 13, 2009…

“When an incident happens in Barbados – any incident – we knowingly look to the status of the people involved and can usually predict the outcome. Is the victim a nobody, elderly, poor or especially a woman – and the other person one of the elites? We all say… tough luck sweetheart – you haven’t a chance of seeing justice!”

Old Ladies with land are fair game in Barbados

New marina a Six Men's won't wait for a court decision on Violet Beckles' land claim

An old lady who has title deeds to what is now incredibly valuable land in Barbados will not stand in the way of “progress” as defined by the Barbados “mafia” who have spent decades waiting for her to die.

So far the informal coalition of lawyers, politicians, land developers and other big shots has been successful in keeping Violet Beckles running to and fro with a series of lawyers while construction on land claimed by her never stops and successive governments keep expropriating more of her land without waiting for definitive answers on her claims. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados

Justice Now! calls public meeting tonight about delayed justice in Barbados

Justice Now!

The public is invited – especially persons with unresolved cases before the courts of Barbados for five years or more – to a meeting at St. Mary’s School.

Thursday, December 10, 2009 – 7pm – St. Mary’s School

You are requested to bring a photocopy of the court docuemtn shwing the case number and the year filed.

Call 423-6126 for further information.

Bro. Courtney Selman of Prayer Warriors International will bless the gathering.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law