STOP WITNESS TAMPERING!
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.