Director of Public Prosecution, Charles Leacock, makes a point as Acting PM, Freundel Stuart, Acting Chief Justice, Sherman Moore and Attorney-at-law, Paul Garlick, look on.??
Freedom of expression as outlined in section 20 of the Constitution of Barbados is subject to the laws of treason, sedition, contempt, defamation and to the public good, and is, therefore, not an absolute right.
This was made clear by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Charles Leacock, as he delivered brief remarks at the opening ceremony of a training seminar for prosecutors at the Frank Walcott Building on Monday.
Noting that there were a number of serious crimes that would come or had come before the courts in recent times, the DPP said that it showed that there was a "no tolerance approach to the enforcement of the criminal law". He stressed, however, that the duty to prosecute was underpinned by a more fundamental right – a fair hearing by an independent and impartial court within a reasonable time.
"It is with that in mind, that I wish to draw to your attention that the media has the duty to report on what is taking place in the society and the public has a right to be informed about what is taking place," Mr. Leacock stated.
He cautioned, however, that these rights were subject to other people’s rights. "One of the other rights it is subject to is to ensure that those who are coming before the criminal courts have a fair hearing. The criminal justice system has in the past been able to deliver just and appropriate results in all cases, whether or not the offences are heinous," he observed.
The DDP, therefore, urged the public to let the system work and not to let their comments overstep the bounds of propriety, decorum and what was appropriate in a just and democratic society.
"Leave comments on the specific facts of any case that might be coming before the court where they belong – in the law court," Mr. Leacock advised. email@example.com