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Public Defender - 60 day detention unfeasible

Published: Wednesday October 1, 2008 | 10:44 am Comments 0

Public Defender Earl Witter believes it might not be feasible to detain persons accused of serious crimes for up to 60 days in light of the problem of overcrowding in the islandís lock-ups.

Mr. Witter was speaking yesterday during a meeting of a parliamentary committee currently deliberating on six crime bills.

According to him the islandís remand facilities are filled to capacity.

He is appealing to the government to guard against the incarceration of persons in conditions that are inhumane and degrading.

He said that would infringe the fundamental protection accorded by the Constitution.

However, yesterday members of the Police High Command tried their best to convince the committee to pass the six controversial crime bills.

To support their stance they presented seven cases detailing alleged crimes committed by accused persons on bail.

According to police records, 71 persons charged with serious criminal offences have allegedly committed other crimes while on bail.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields told the committee that, of the 71 accused, 26 were charged for murder.

Giving a further breakdown, the crime chief said of 21 alleged offenders, seven were believed to have carried out a second killing.

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