Tuesday 14 July, 2020

How marijuana records will be expunged

[iStock.com/Favor_of_God]

[iStock.com/Favor_of_God]

According to Attorney General, Faris Al Rawi, the government is taking a proactive approach when it comes to expunging the records of those accused and convicted of being in possession of under 30 grammes of marijuana. 

He says the priority goes to those who are currently incarcerated. 

“Part of the process is going to be to ask for their files to be brought up by the court because the court will have the quantities,” he explained. 

In the spirit of proactivity, Al Rawi says he’s already requested those files. He’s also engaged Chief Justice, Ivor Archie and other members of the judiciary to ensure fluidity on their end of the process. 

Based on instruction from the Privy Council, each matter will have to be considered individually by a mercy committee. This committee consists of the Attorney General, National Security Minister, Stuart Young, Director of Public Prosecutions, Roger Gaspard and others. 

The AG says the intention is to have this process carried out in the quickest possible time. “We will put the mechanisms in place to receive the requests for pardon and we will establish a process on how to fast track those positions,” he said. 

Al Rawi implored that while the government is prepared to carry the process out expeditiously, they need the support of other stakeholders, including the lawyers acting on behalf of the accused.  

The Mercy Committee will begin reviewing cases on Monday 23 December.

Those in qualifying circumstances can benefit from having their records pardoned as most employers shy away from hiring citizens with stained criminal records. 

Loop News asked the Attorney General whether these citizens can also benefit by being able to apply for US visas. He explained that while they haven’t expressly discussed it with US authorities, he’s sure they’re paying attention. “I am confident that the US Embassy in T&T will continue to take note of developments in our laws and I can certainly say that I am equally confident that our excellent relationship will continue to flourish,” he said. 

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