21 Feb 2021

Israel Khan's Doubliethink

Israel Khan SC has been out in front recently calling for the death penalty to be implemented. Unfortunately, the learned gent has missed some fundamental issues. He has erred in his logic and his knowledge base needs updating. He digs in like an Alabama tick on his position of 28 years ago – indicating to me, that in nearly 3 decades his thinking has remained stagnant, in spite of gaining Senior Counsel (SC) status through years of legal experience.

What Mr Khan is suggesting– opposing Blackstone’s ratio – is that 999 people should be hanged, together with the 1 guilty person! (see statistics below). He is pandering to those emotionally charged and intellectually void for popularity votes/approval.

Catching the criminals.

Mr Khan must know of the hundreds of people missing and presumed dead in T&T. Those are counted by the population as homicides. No perpetrators have been found. The hangman’s noose swings empty and idle. And that is at the heart of Mr Khan’s mistake and he actually recognises part of the problem. He said “…Vicious, wicked, evil and deliberate murderers should be executed while others outside this category, if found guilty, should receive a term of imprisonment up to life.

The magic words are ‘if found guilty’. Mr Khan must know that in the finding of guilt, the criminal justice system must first find a person to prosecute and then be robust enough to navigate all technicalities in law, to deliver justice. The death penalty has to be finalised within 5 years. So says the Privy Council - the highest court for T&T.

Statistics

Success rates of detection currently lie below 6% according to the US’ CIA. Prosecution success, based upon well-known court statistics, is 1% of that 6%… In other words, 0.06%. To put it bluntly, TTPS’ ability to find evidence that actually stands up to vigorous scrutiny in a court of law is less than 0.1% of the crimes that are actually perpetrated on the public– all of this is floating in the public domain for years. Less than 1 in 1000!

Let that sink in!

Now, think about it some more.

No… You still have not thought about it enough.

Really concentrate on what those figures mean for the public and the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago – not the politicians; they have armed police escorts complete with blue lights and siren.

Mr Khan’s factual knowledge

Mr Khan very well knows of the hackneyed and insipid ability of the police in bringing cases to prosecution and getting the job done properly. He and his son Daniel Khan (former Inspector of Prisons), are aware of the woeful performance of the justice system which has hundreds of people on remand in prison awaiting trials, for donkey’s years (10 to 15 years seem normal by public account).

By contrast, another member of his Chambers, Mrs Ula Nathai-Lutchman had been out in front talking Human Rights for prisoners. She won a whole string of cases at the Appeal Court, which showed up flaws in the justice system. This is also in the public domain. Mr Khan knows about all that.

Failure of logic

Mr Khan submits that for an innocent man, “…It is better that he be executed than to incarcerate him for life; for that man knowing he is innocent would live a life of misery and may even wish that he were dead.” - and in the next breath, Khan states, “under our criminal justice system, it is one hundred times greater than a guilty person could be acquitted than an innocent person be convicted for murder.” The latter is a false comparison, devoid of the applications of the logic and must be confined to what is known as doublethink.

I am bewildered how Mr Khan recognises that the system might fail and a few innocents get their necks popped, but that is a price society must be willing to pay. This has been refuted by better legal minds (William Blackstone being the most famous) than him over the few centuries that the legal system has been developed (see below).

Relics of the past

Mr Khan relies on the thinking of Dr Wolf Middendorff, a criminologist of influence back in the 1970s, as some authoritative reference. Mr Khan’s quote of Middendorf is from a contribution in the book “Punishment for and Against” by H. B. Acton, last published in 1971. The book is a historical relic which would set you back around USD$ 500 for a hardcover copy - not because of true value but because it is simply a collector’s item.

Mr Khan creates the appearance of himself being tied into reputable sources from a bygone era. Khan would do well to pull himself into the 21st Century, where there are other reputable research results and opinions. The philosophy of law and legal concepts about punishment, have been baked into more balanced thinking, from 1971 to now, through endless test cases in international law and balanced applications of mature modern legal principles.

Is he afflicted by toxins in the blood affecting his thinking? Mr Khan needs to demonstrate the “enlightened leadership” he calls for.

1 Jan 2021

What 2020 made me realise

2020 lockdown made me realise - 

That I am really comfortable with my own company,

That I don't need to be around people to be happy,

That I can entertain myself,

That my life does not revolve around meaningless partying, clubbing, drinking,

That I still love reading and learning,

That music still soothes the soul,

That education will not be an easy journey but the rewards will be worth it,

That life is enjoyable no matter what happens,

That cooking is a simple pleasure when shared,

And

Stupidity is universal but seems to affect governments disproportionately. 😂

28 Nov 2020

Psychiatrist has a rant about Venez children

 Through our back channels we received the following letter. I think it is unlikely this will appear in lamestream media. 

================= =================

Dear Sir, 

I have to tell you that for the fifth time in the last five years, I am totally ashamed to be a citizen of Trinidad & Tobago. It matters not that I reside in England. 

When I read about the treatment of several Venezuelan children - one just 4 months old - I felt sick. I couldn’t have cared less if they were immigrants, asylum seekers or illegal. 

Boss, ah cyah express mehself if ah doh talk in Trini. Ah vex! Give meh a lil space as I dispense with dee Queen’s English. 

Yuh doh treat people soooo! Yuh do not treat helpless children in dat way - throw dem on a fishing boat and set dem out on rough seas. Ah mean who was jumping out to save dee four-month old if s/he fell into dee ocean! Dis ting is pure nonsense! No man - I eh having it! I couldn’t believe meh eyes when I viewed photographs of some fella holding dee four-month old up, coming off dee fishing boat in high water.

Right - code-switching back - the children were treated in a cruel, inhumane and unusual way. It is utterly ridiculous for Stuart Young to pull some verbal sleight of hand, arguing that they were ‘escorted’ and not ‘deported’. He is a lawyer, so what? Mr Young, does the law and politics rob you of your ability to feel shame? I have to wonder. In England we saw similar legal sleight of hand by Dominic Cummings (the Prime Minister’s chief adviser) trying to justify breaking  COVID-19 restrictions to argue that when his eyesight was failing, he had to take a drive to a castle to test out his eyesight. The whole of the UK was totally flabbergasted at the audacity of such an idiotic explanation, and soon the memes told of the outrage of the UK. 

The children - whether illegal or not - whether citizens or not - have several rights protected by the Constitution of Trinidad & Tobago, and several Treaties to which T&T has signed up to. So, how can Stuart Young pull some argument to justify what happened? He can’t and his cerebral diarrhoea is ill-becoming a Minister of National Security with the overall responsibility for this matter. The buck stops with him.  He would be making a bigger fool of himself if he continues along his chosen line. But, he doesn’t seem to care. He must have skin like crapaud leather.

The State of Trinidad & Tobago has to take responsibility for the prima facie breach of the Venezuelan children’s rights! Mr Young, take my advice:  do the honourable thing; apologise to these children now, and cough up some generous compensation along with a commitment to respect their rights! No delay. 

Yours Sincerely

Dr Russell D. Lutchman MRCPsych LLB(Hons) DipMgmnt CertSocSci HRD(Amnesty Intn'l) Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist in the UK. 


22 Jul 2020

TTPS rising

I am pleased that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) is pleased with their ‘100%’ rise in detection rate for murders. According to Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Investigations McDonald Jacob:

"In the first four and a half months for 2020, we had solved 20 murders but from middle of May to date we have solved 21 murders, showing a 100 per cent improvement in our detection rate.” [Newsday, TV6 21/07/2020]

The other side of that ‘glossy’ statistic is not so rosy however.

For years the murder detection/solve rate has been less than 10%. No lie. I have been monitoring this since 2007, right here on this blog. Typically, the ‘solve rate’ hovers between 4% to 6%.

This year, 2020, TTPS has risen to heights hitherto unseen, by reaching a whopping 20% solve rate. Of course, that included the domestic cases where the perpetrators are usually known/caught at the scene/or surrender.

Looking at the bigger picture, there are some 252 murders to date, meaning the police only solved 16%. Now, remember that this is by police standards… Which is not very high apparently, since the conviction rate – which comes after the arrest and prosecution – is a mere 1% of the ‘solve rate’ quoted by TTPS. Has that sunk in yet? In other words, the police standard of evidence and detection is so low that a court finds it reliable only 1% of the time!

In the Latin Americas and Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago ranks fourth in number of homicides per 100,000 citizens – 37.4. We are only surpassed by Venezuela, Jamaica and Honduras. [https://www.statista.com/statistics/947781/homicide-rates-latin-america-caribbean-country/]

I am pleased that TTPS is pleased. I am NOT pleased they are so easily pleased.

30 Jun 2020

That Hackshaw file

If the Express’ reports are correct, that there “were over 180 deposits amounting to $1.8 million spread over 18 RBC Royal Bank accounts, with more funds in an account at Scotiabank and the Unit Trust Corporation”, then DPP Gaspard is absolutely correct in requesting the file for review. [Express 29/06/2020]

Think about it logically – simple mathematics shows that the depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) deliberately kept deposits under $10,000. Why? Deposits of over $10,000 attract attention as to the source of the funds. Clearly, the depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) wanted to avoid undue attention, which indicates that the depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) ‘knew’ there might be questions to be answered. Pretty unusual when you consider that some of the money were given in cheques in sums way above $10,000.

I am pretty sure that the ordinary man on the street would have a very difficult time converting/depositing a cheque of over $10,000 in partial increments of under $10,000. Did Hackshaw’s depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) get special benefits from the bank by virtue of Hackshaw being a high-ranking police officer?

A further discrepancy comes from Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, who, with his usual blustering style, seeks to obfuscate the issue further. On June 8 he claimed that Hackshaw’s file would be sent to the DPP, then some days later claimed that the file would not be sent until all investigations are completed – the further investigation coming not from the police service, but from an independent organisation, the PCA. One can only wonder at Gary’s agenda. There seems to be an institutionalised “protection” racket going on, a police brotherhood intent on protecting their own.

Another question that comes to my mind is why is Hackshaw’s depositor (and I am not saying it is Hackshaw) depositing money into Hackshaw’s personal accounts, money contributed by private businesses that “were donations given to him by businesses to assist with police functions”. Surely such money should have been given to the coordinators and planners of those police functions?

The Hackshaw situation raises more questions than answers, and in the interest of transparency needs to be fully aired – in public – to the satisfaction of all that there is no jiggery-pokery going on. And if Hackshaw is found to be misbehaving in public office, then I hope that the full brunt of the law falls on him, retirement or not.