Former justice minister and judge Herbert Volney admitted in Parliament yesterday he had made an error in the Brad Boyce case.His admission came during his contribution to yesterday's House of Representatives debate on a motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, brought by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Volney in 1998 directed a nine-member jury to return a not guilty verdict in the case against Boyce, who was being tried for the unlawful killing of Jason Johnson. There have since been several protests against the ruling.Yesterday Volney raised the matter in Parliament, saying: "I made an error. I admit I made an error."Opposition MPs seemed taken aback by the comment.
Volney added: "There was the Court of Appeal to correct me. They too made an error and by the time it got to the Privy Council, the case was ten years old and the Privy Council said the case was too old to be retried."He raised the matter to dismiss claims from the Opposition that the proclamation of Section 34 of the Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act, 2011 was done to benefit former United National Congress financiers.
"So this Section 34 was not about any particular persons, it was about restoring, as a matter of principle, the balance between the right of the State to prosecute and the right of the citizens to the protection of law."He said the legislation was intended to ensure that the accused was tried within a reasonable time.He said that development would assist in getting families back together and for victims to not have to relive the trauma several years later.
Volney said Section 34 was also intended to ensure that "the DPP would get down to doing his work in a timely way."He told legislators: "True, his (DPP's) wings were being clipped and there started the beginning of what led to my downfall. I started to clip certain people's wings."