OUTSPOKEN attorney Senior Counsel Israel Khan has called on all lawyers, particularly those at the criminal bar, to join the debate on the trial-by-jury issue currently garnering attention in the Parliament.
Khan’s call was made at the Criminal Bar Association (CBA)’s first annual Criminal Lawyers Can Cook event on May 20, in St Joseph. Khan is the president of the CBA.
As he advocated for all lawyers to remember their moral and ethical responsibility under the code of ethics of the profession, which included a duty to defend the Judiciary from unwarranted criticisms and lead public debate on important legal issues, Khan also urged them to speak up on the trial-by-jury issue.
The legislation introduced in the Parliament seeks to make judge-only trials the default for criminal cases.
Khan said, “Silence on this issue is not an option. The only persons who are entitled to the right to silence are persons who are suspected of committing criminal offences, not lawyers.”
Also speaking at the event was former president Anthony Carmona, a former High Court judge in the Assizes and a former prosecutor for two decades.
Carmona singled out Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, as an “independent, strong and fearless person,” following in the footsteps of the Greek mythological character Sisyphus. Sisyphus cheated death and was punished by the gods by having to spend eternity rolling a huge rock up a hill forever. Every time he reached the top the rock would roll back down again.
Carmona said Sisyphus’s plight was similar to what attorneys now face in Trinidad and Tobago on criminal justice reform.
There were also greetings from the Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General, Senator Renuka Sagramsingh; and Law Association President Lynette Seebaran-Suite.
The winners of the various segments were: First set- up and have food ready: CBA for its “Eat a food” tent; Best Fish Broth: Allum Law Chambers; Best Soup: Regius Law Chambers: Best chow: Public Defenders’ Department; Best curry: Freedom Law Chambers; Best Rice dish: Atticus Finch Law Chambers; Best finger food: Justitia Omnibus Law Chambers; Most Vibez – Allum Law Chambers.
The CBA also won the best tent display with its Coal pot and Breadfruit. Attorney Wayne Sturge got the best photo of the day for riding a bicycle, both of which poked fun at attorney and MP Keith Scotland.
Khan won the best slogan recognition for Khan Can Cook.