One of the country’s top criminal-defence attorneys has suggested that lawmakers enact special sanctions for law-enforcement personnel proven to have “planted” evidence on an accused person to secure a conviction.
For Bert Samuels, the maximum penalty for such action should be twice the sentence prescribed for the criminal charge against the accused person.
As a further deterrent, Samuels wants law-enforcement personnel found to have planted evidence to secure a conviction to share the financial burden where their actions result in a successful lawsuit against the State.
“In any successful civil suit arising from an acquittal where evidence was planted, the officer should be compelled to pay one-half of the damages awarded,” he suggested in a letter to The Gleaner.
The suggestions were among a raft of measures proposed by Samuels to protect the rights of accused persons and guarantee that they receive a fair trial.
However, Paula Llewellyn, the nation’s chief prosecutor, has taken issue with the suggestions, arguing that Samuels is “unwittingly seeking to persuade the legislature to concretise a lopsided system, which would be unfair to the prosecution and victims” in criminal trials.