STOP WIT­NESS TAM­PER­ING!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

Speak Out St. Lu­cia (S.O.S.) calls on law en­force­ment author­i­ties to en­force the laws re­lat­ing to wit­ness tam­per­ing in Saint Lu­cia.

It has been brought to the at­ten­tion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion that many vic­tims and wit­nesses in sex­ual and phys­i­cal abuse cases have been ap­proached by in­di­vid­u­als in­tend­ing for them to with­draw or not pro­ceed fur­ther with cases which are al­ready be­fore the courts. The or­ga­ni­za­tion be­lieves in some cases, lawyers and po­lice of­fi­cers are the in­di­vid­u­als who have en­gaged in this wit­ness tam­per­ing. These con­tacts with vic­tims and wit­nesses have been via tele­phone, in per­son, or through an­other party, on be­half of the al­ready ar­rested and charged per­pe­tra­tor of these crimes.

S.O.S. is par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about a re­cent in­ci­dent in which a lawyer who sought to in­flu­ence the vic­tim to qui­etly drop the case con­tacted the vic­tim. It must be noted that the lawyer in ques­tion did not rep­re­sent the vic­tim!

The as­so­ci­a­tion also calls on the Bar As­so­ci­a­tion and the RSLPF to re­it­er­ate to its mem­bers that such ac­tions are il­le­gal and sub­ject to se­vere penal­ties un­der the laws of Saint Lu­cia.

The so­cial jus­tice group is en­cour­ag­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic to im­me­di­ately re­port to the po­lice any at­tempts by any­one who so­lic­its them, by any means, to drop any case or fail to give ev­i­dence, in an ef­fort to per­vert the course of jus­tice in St. Lu­cia.

With ref­er­ence to the Crim­i­nal Code law of Saint Lu­cia, Sec­tion 374 States “Caus­ing a per­son to re­frain from giv­ing ev­i­dence at crim­i­nal trial. A per­son who, with in­tent to de­feat, ob­struct, or per­vert the course of jus­tice at the trial of any other per­son for any crime, in any man­ner causes the other per­son to re­frain from giv­ing ev­i­dence at such trial, is li­able on con­vic­tion on in­dict­ment to im­pris­on­ment for 7 years.”

The law goes on to ex­plic­itly state in Sec­tion 376 (1)(f) “A per­son com­mits an of­fence of per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice if he or she acts or em­barks upon a course of con­duct, which has a ten­dency to and is in­tended to per­vert the course of jus­tice. Where a per­son by any means or with any prom­ise in­duces an­other to with­draw charges made or in­duces an­other not to pur­sue the pros­e­cu­tion of an of­fence is li­able on con­vic­tion on in­dict­ment to im­pris­on­ment for 5 years.”

S.O.S. also calls on all per­sons who have been ap­proached to com­mit any such act to im­me­di­ately re­port the mat­ter to the po­lice!

Speak Out St. Lu­cia con­demns all ac­tions by any in­di­vid­ual or group to psy­cho­log­i­cally in­flu­ence, in­duce, co­erce or in­tim­i­date any vic­tim or wit­ness to drop or with­draw from giv­ing ev­i­dence in any case, and fur­ther en­cour­ages all law abid­ing cit­i­zens to re­sist any such at­tempts to per­vert the course of jus­tice in St. Lu­cia.

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