The more Guyana grows older, the more we see that this country is descending rapidly into psychological sickness and morbid breakdown. All over the world, the rape of little children brings out anger in the population.
Raping a child, then killing that child is a definite death penalty outcome in India. In the US, plea bargaining would save the accused from execution but life imprisonment will definitely be ordered.
In certain Scandinavian countries, jail sentences tend to be light but not for child rape/murder. I cannot think of any rational country where a man kidnaps a nine-year-old boy, sodomizes him, cuts off his genitals, strangles him, then goes to sleep with him and ends up getting 17 years in jail. Only one country accepts that barbarity; it is a wasteland named Guyana.
Justice Sandil Kissoon (absolutely no relation to me) gave Ryan Bobb-Semple 23 years for the acts described above. His victim was nine-year-old Shaquan Gittens. For each year, three months is deducted, so Bobb-Semple will only serve 17 calendar years. This is a sickening country where humanity took flight a long time ago, so don’t be surprised if Bobb-Semple is released for good behaviour in a few years’ time.
The same judge around the same time gave a man a life sentence for attempted murder. No one died. The charge was attempted murder. In another situation, a little angel is kidnapped, buggered and murdered and the accused gets 17 years in jail. I have seen bizarre jail sentences in this country by both magistrates and judges but Judge Sandil Kissoon’s unbelievable and unimaginable decision has left me emotionally drained. And there is nothing I can do about this judge.
I cannot cite him for misconduct before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) because his decision does not fall into that category. I cannot ask the JSC to review the sentence. I know that institution will not act. If they did not act in Magistrate McLennan’s trafficking in person decision then why would they intervene now?
Let me remind readers about how McLennan ruled and what happened after. She found a woman guilty of human trafficking and imposed a fine. The law stipulates mandatory imprisonment. The Government issued a press release condemning the magistrate’s decision. Neither government nor the Judicial Service Commission sought an explanation. The next day, the issue was forgotten. The magistrate is still on the bench.
Is there a judicial breakdown in this country? I am waiting at the right time to offer some macabre evidence of some decisions that have taken place in the judiciary that seriously call into question the viability of this nation. Research shows that discrepancies in judicial sentences in this country are not only shocking but unbelievable and please don’t think it is in the lower courts only.
What is so sad, tragic and dangerous is that there is no official intervention from higher judicial authorities and the state. The independence of the judiciary is not absolute in any country. It is important to note what is meant by the independence of the judiciary. It is not a complex issue. In democratic societies, the judiciary is insulated from the intervening hands of the power-holders.
The government of the day has no role in the functioning of the judiciary. And for obvious reasons, it should not. In democratic lands, the constitution and the laws prevent the government from having jurisdiction over the judiciary.
There are, however, certain legal prerogatives that the head of government can resort to if that head of government feels that a judge has acted immorally or illegally. The avenue is a complaint to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Now the JSC can refuse the request depending on the nature of it. The JSC will peremptorily shut down attempts to get it to reverse a court ruling or to question the judge’s reasoning. The JSC around the world will never tolerate such intrusion.
But if the Prime Minister or President cites high moral violations, it is doubtful that the JSC will be unmoved. This is what happened when President Desmond Hoyte, acting on a complaint of Chief Magistrate, Claudette La Bennett, asked the JSC to investigate Justice Barnwell for alleged perversion of the course of justice. The subsequent inquiry found Barnwell guilty and he was removed.
No minister of prime minister or president in Guyana can tell a magistrate or judge how to rule. But President Granger has provided a valuable perspective. When Minister Bulkan criticized the Chronicle for a news item, President Granger said Ministers can voice their opinions on issues in their private capacity.
So how do the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet feel about the 17-year jail sentence?
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