Attorney at Law, Mary Francis, has accused the court of , in effect, sanctioning unlawful behaviour by the police.
“More often than not when you have cases against the state, the court comes down on the side of the state – on the side of the Attorney General and in effect, sanctioning unlawful behaviour of the police. That is what has been going on for the longest while,” the outspoken Human Rights Activist told the Times.
“Now and again you may get a judgement in favour of the person who has been wronged by the state – by the police, but more often than not, the court has as its business to go down on the side of the state and this is not right at all,” Francis lamented.
She told the Times that if the situation continues Saint Lucia will become a police state.
“If the executive is taking no action against the police and then the court is coming down on the side of the police and the state, where are we? Where is the small man who is left to suffer, sometimes maimed by the police – shot, killed by the police?” Francis said.
Francis made the comments while calling for an inquest into the recent death of a Dennery resident at sea.
Police said the death occurred after a canoe rammed a Marine Police vessel.
Francis has also called for an inquest into the fatal shooting of a man who allegedly tried to rob an armed Special Police Constable in plain clothes in George V Park.
She asserted that nothing was happening in terms of judicial reform including greater access to justice.
The Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights acknowledged that there is independence of the judiciary, a principle that must be defended.
However she called for a more ‘liberal’ approach.
“They must come down to reality, or else reality will be taken to the courts, the executive and the government. This is not the real world in Saint Lucia, they are living away from reality,” she stated.
Francis said the court must function in a way to ensure that there is ‘real justice’.
She said she is very worried about the situation because justice and peace are ‘inextricably linked.’
“No justice no peace,” the Human Rights Campaigner remarked, adding that the people must be respected and have equal access to justice.
“Not only for those who can afford it, but those who need it and cannot afford it as well,” Francis told the Times.