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‘No Witness, No Justice’ programme launched
By Ashlee Cox
“THE importance of witnesses cannot be stressed often enough or forcefully enough.”
That is the view of Edward Garnier QC, Her Majesty’s Solicitor General to England and Wales. He was delivering the feature address at the launch of the ‘No Witness, No Justice’ school engagement project at the US Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean yesterday.
Noting that when witnesses to a crime come forward and not only report what they have seen, but also bring forth the necessary evidence to the police, they are not ‘snitching’; rather, they are actually performing their civic duty, ensuring that justice is done and contributing to a safer society.
However, he acknowledges that this is rarely the case as many witnesses are hard-pressed or afraid to actually step forward and testify or produce the necessary evidence.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that witnesses – not only in the Caribbean but around the world, in the United States, in the United Kingdom, across Europe – can be too afraid to appear at court, through intimidation, or because they are simply too embarrassed to report a sexual offence to the police, or too fearful of reprisals to talk, either against themselves or against those that they love,” he stated.
With the launch of the ‘No Witness, No Justice’ project, however, it is hoped that not only students but adults as well begin to understand why being a witness is so important not only to law enforcement, but also in making the communities – and by wider extension, the country – a safer place.
“This will help promote good citizenship and ensure the delivery of justice. So play your part, help your neighbours, help your community, help your country, help your region and always remember: No witness no justice,” he urged.