Press Statement from Advocates Legal Group in Turks and Caicos Islands

Published in TCI Post on 01st of February

Advocates Legal Group – Press Statement Re: Intimidation and Threats by the Attorney General Chambers

ADVOCATES LEGAL GROUP
MEMBERS: Mark A Fulford, Noel T Skippings, Arthur Hamilton, Ashwood Forbes, Courtenay Barnett
PRESS RELEASE
RE: INTIMIDATION & THREATS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH
MADE BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CHAMBERS
As Lawyers, we feel compelled to respond to the Attorney General`s public statement, as we find it to be very high handed, vexatious and wreaks of intimidation of the highest order.
Our country`s constitution guarantee us the freedom of expression, and unless the AG Chambers changes that law too, Part 1, Section 1 of the Constitution still applied to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It is not acceptable that the Attorney General should cause to be published a threat of 10 years imprisonment when the press published and freely expresses factually based concerns about the manifest flaws and shortcomings in the justice system under the present dispensation.
It is indeed a compromise of the Constitutional enshrinement and protection of the fundamental right of “freedom of expression”. The AG’s threat to imprison by invoking the antiquated concept of contempt by way of “scandalising the court” fails to recognize the following:-
A. Contempt by way of scandalising the court was used years ago in England as a means of silencing legitimate criticism of Judges and others in authority. It is no longer used in England, and since parity by way of “gay rights” has been strenuously advanced by HMG in the TCI, the lawyers group is duty bound to insist that obsolete laws not be used in this manner to silence those who make legitimate criticism of a manifestly flawed justice system.
B. If the individual or individuals named in any article feel that they have been defamed, then sue the published on the article for defamation and do not threaten either lawyers or the press which should not be so intimidated because a Registrar, or Chief Justice or any Judge feels aggrieved for having read what was published in the press.
B. The high office of Attorney General should be, with respect, more concerned about:
Compromises in the system of justice,
Selective prosecution,
the impasse between Governor and Government over VAT,
The use of prosecutorial powers to pressure confessions and settlements,
Rather than be it implied or expressed be seem as silencing legitimate criticisms of a flawed justice system.
END
31 January 2013

Posted by john Glasgow on Feb 1 2013.

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