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Attorney says criminal laws need to be revised

At Monday’s ceremonial opening of the legal year, new Attorney General Michael Peyrifitte said he was looking forward to work with the bar and bench to improve the judiciary. One of the initiatives has to do with the revision of the criminal laws. Attorney Anthony Sylvester Junior shared with the media why that is important.

Anthony Sylvester Junior – Attorney

“That you have mandatory minimum sentences which really do create in many instances, disproportionate sentences being passed on individuals. For instance there is a matter which I am involved with presently before the court of appeal where an individual was convicted and sentenced for 12 years for carnal knowledge. He was 15 years old at the time and the female was 13 at the time. Here it was that you had two highschoolers he was in third form and she was in first form and this individual was convicted and sentenced to twelve years.  He has been in prison serving a 12 year sentence since 2011 so that instances like that, those of us who practice in the criminal bar realize that these mandatory minimum sentences they do create disproportionate and cruel sentences in certain instances and that there needs to be a complete revision of the laws and determine the appropriateness of it. The AG has basically thrown out to everyone, that since we practice at the bar and we realize that this is a problem so offer your suggestions; so that is basically the extent of it.”

Sylvester said the revision is extremely important and cited areas that need to be addressed.

Anthony Sylvester Junior – Attorney

“In the instance with the misuse of drugs where a person who is caught with in excess of sixty grams, that person is liable to be subjected to be imprisoned for a term of three years. These are all things those of us who practice at the criminal bar believe should be looked at and so it is something which certainly we welcome and I’m sure there are many other attorneys who would as well put their input because it is something that will be of great benefit to the country and to persons who are affected by the criminal justice system and who as we know at the end of the day, are primarily poor and indigent and who are not as affluent so it is something which is needed and which will be of great benefit.