2 Aug 2009

ASBO

asbo

What is an ASBO?

The answer lies within the text in the photo above, but which I will repeat here anyway:

ASBO’s are court orders which forbid specific threatening or intimidating actions. They are designed to protect specific victims, neighbours, or even whole communities from behaviour that has frightened or intimidated them, or damaged their quality of life.

These are civil orders – not criminal penalties – so they won’t appear on a suspect’s criminal record. However, if that person breaches an ASBO, they have committed a criminal offence, which is punishable by a fine or up to five years in prison.

The italics are mine.

It is interesting to note the use of ASBO’s here in England. In this instance, the suspected person cannot enter a stipulated area, nor use any route except one specified to him – and even then, he cannot loiter.

He cannot wear clothing that blocks his face, eyes, nose or mouth (motor cycle helmet, balaclava etc).

Many Trinidadians will wonder how the law could ‘breach his rights’. It is interesting that once I too was unaware of what a ‘right’ is…

So many of us claims our rights are breached but if asked, what right?, one cannot answer to specifics.

The fact of the matter is, rights are dependent upon two things, one of which is less than recognised and is a debatable topic. A simplified version:

  1. A right is something that is granted in law, by the government.

And…

A right is something which we hold on to by the power we have in defending it.

Man has only those rights which he can defend.

McCoy

Law & Order

So back to ASBO’s. There is no breach of rights if the law says that this is what must be.

I’ve seen ASBO’s that prevent persons from playing music too loud, or even owning equipment that allows playing music too loud. I’ve seen people prevented from wearing tops with hoods, from being out after a particular time (curfews), from mixing with certain individuals etc.

That being said, perhaps it is time that the law in Trinidad and Tobago seek to implement ASBO’s to help in the fight against crime.

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