Wednesday 26 February, 2020

Griffith bashes attorney for defending magistrate

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is picking a fight with attorney Mario Merrit who defended Magistrate Aden Stroud when he appeared on CNC3’s The Morning Brew on Thursday. Merrit had answered questions posed by host, Hema Ramkissoon, on the incident.

He advised Griffith, who called Stroud a “bully”, to do proper investigations before attacking the Magistracy. This all stems from newspaper reports that on October 22, 2019, Stroud scolded officers who had appeared before him for claiming magistrates were not in court to deal with their matters. They had reportedly given that excuse as to why Valsayn businessman Emile Sanowar did not appear before a judge, although he was taken to court that day.

In a statement on Thursday evening, Griffith reminded that Stroud was the same Magistrate who granted bail to an accused man charged with possession of nine assault rifles.

He further slammed the lawyer for defending him.

“This attorney, used his airtime to lambaste me for questioning why the scales of justice many times seemingly in favour of perpetrators, whilst our citizens continue to live in fear. Imagine, attempting to justify, granting bail to someone held in possession with 9 assault rifles. Heaven forbid, had those weapons been used on any of his loved ones, I am certain he would have a different view to his defensive stance to virtually try to justify this action.”

Merrit had also advised Griffith to ensure that police officers effectively do their job to ensure conviction. However, Griffith said that his hard-working police were efficient.

“This Attorney then took a swing at the entire Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) by asserting that officers are not doing their jobs, which is why bail is easily given out. He then proceeded to assert that had I been a ‘real police officer’, I would understand certain procedures. Perhaps, had he [Mr. Merritt] been a real attorney, he would understand that by good police work in intelligence, patrols, roadblocks and arresting someone in possession of 9 assault rifles, that the Police did, in fact, do our job, but it goes to naught when some in the criminal justice system, see it fit to fight for and justify the rights of criminals rather than putting the priority on securing lives of law-abiding citizens.”

Meanwhile, the top cop brought into question Merrit’s morals as he said that as a defender of criminal elements, their ethical beliefs will not align.

Griffith also lamented that the justice system favours criminal elements and pledged to continue to fight for his officers and for the rights of law-abiding citizens.

“Whilst I appreciate justice demands that people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and everyone has a right to be defended, it is more than my right, it is also my responsibility to defend the men and women of the TTPS, I would continue so to do without fear or favour. We are doing what is required to prevent criminal elements from taking control of the country, be it those wearing pants that sag whilst holding a firearm, to those with 3 piece suits or those in robes.”

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