Our Readers' Opinions
August 2, 2013

Thoughts on arrest of and charges against Vynnette Frederick

Fri Aug 02, 2013

EDITOR: I read with interest the fiasco in St Vincent and the Grenadines surrounding the arrest and the filing of new and additional charges against Vynnette Frederick, which led to a demonstration in the streets of Kingstown last Friday.{{more}}

I am surprised that P.R. Campbell QC criticised the move by the DPP to file three additional charges against Miss Frederick, questioning why they were not brought before, and made the remark that if “they were in a fridge”, prompting the DPP to describe the statement as “humourous”.

The learned QC is a brilliant lawyer and knows better, that there is no time limit to file indictable charges and that the complaints that were dismissed by the learned magistrate were adjudicated not on the merits of the prosecution case, but on a point of law. The magistrate disagreed with defence counsel on the points in limene he submitted to the Court and quite rightly argued that there were insufficient ingredients in the charges. Frederick did not even plea to the charges, but in any event no plea is required before a magistrate in indictable charges.

Mr Campbell was among the first batch of law students at the the Council of Legal Education law programme and gained first class honours in the LL B examination at Cave Hill. Moreover, he is an experienced attorney as well, with more than 35 years experience. He also served as Attorney General for a number of years before he was forced to resign.

I am baffled as to how he could question the timing of the filing of the three additional charges by the DPP. I am also amazed that the Bar Association had a press conference on the issue. The Association should have kept out of the matter completely, because if Miss Frederick is convicted, that Bar Association will be the disciplinary body to decide what appropriate action should be taken.

I do not agree with my good friend Kay Bacchus-Browne, former president of the Bar Association, when she said that Frederick would be put in jeopardy and it is an abuse of the process.

The populace look to the lawyers for guidance and they, especially the seniors, should be careful and do not allow their political preference to cloud their legal judgement.

However, in my personal view, I do not think that it was prudent for nine police officers to arrest Miss Frederick. It was not called for, especially since she is well known in the society … a lawyer and a senator.

Oscar Ramjeet