THERE is already legislation in place to deal with wasteful employment of the police, say two social activists.
Hazel Brown, former co-ordinator of the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women, commented yesterday on the 80 hours of community service a magistrate ordered a woman to perform for wrongfully crying rape.
Leah Phillip, of San Fernando, was charged on Saturday with wasteful employment of the police.
The probation office will determine the nature of the work Phillip will do, but it could include cleaning public schools or assisting at a home for elderly people.
Brown expressed the view that every such case should be determined on its merit. “No two cases are alike and I’m sure in each case, the circumstances of how did the person commit the offence of wasting the police time happened, is different.”
Brown said that the offence was already punishable by imprisonment of up to three years and that served as a deterrent.
Former independent senator Dianna Mahabir-Wyatt, shares Brown’s view, adding that in each case of wasteful employment of the police, “the facts will determine how magistrates deal with the problem.”
Pointing out that it is not the kind of offence people committed regularly, Mahabir-Wyatt said that in the case of Phillip, she did not accuse any particular person of rape.
Single Fathers’ Association president Rhondall Feeles, also expressed the view that every case of wasteful employment of the police had to be judge on its merits. But he called for enactment of legislation for stiffer penalties for people who waste police time “whilst making serious allegations against people’s character.” That was not in the case of Phillip who did not name anyone who had ‘committed’ the act on her.
Feeles said, “We need laws for, though a minuscule offence, for it could blow out of proportion. I think the judiciary should publish guidelines on how magistrates should punish those who make this kind of allegation.”