UPDATE: Prisoners’ sentences reduced; Court of Appeal judges say Behanzin was wrong

Carlos Edwards was one of the prisoner's freed following an appeal of his sentencing this week.

By Hermisha Rolle, Staff reporter

Majority of the appeal matters against the convictions and sentences of Magistrate Tiyani Behanzin brought before the Court of Appeal here this week were altered and ruled to be in contrary to the law.

Some three prisoners were freed, having served sufficient time in prison. While 19 of Behanzin’s sentences appeared before the Court of Appeal, the three justices of appeal reserved their judgments on some, stating that they would alter certain things in those reserved matters.

A matter involving Leon Joseph presided over by Magistrate Behanzin was the only one that was ruled to be a proper sentence. Joseph was sentenced to three years for theft.

In one instance, Justice of Appeal Honourable Ola Mae Edwards stated, “every step he (Behanzin) made was the wrong step, it’s very depressing.”

While dealing with another matter she remarked that he had shown a trend of “arbitrary sentencing,” with no regards to the law.

Consequently, several prisoners who had been sentenced and serving time at the Dominica State Prison were released after Justice Edwards, Justice Michael Gordon Q.C and Justice Janice Mesadis George-Creque of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court ruled that their sentences were too harsh. According to the Appeals Court, the convicted men had already spent sufficient time in jail.

One matter involved Roy Joseph, who had been sentenced for wounding by Magistrate Behanzin. According to the Court of Appeal, Joseph had not gone through a full trial, after pleading guilty with an explanation, which is “no plea” in the court of law.

“The magistrate was wrong to accept the guilty plea with explanation,” one justice of appeal remarked.

A guilty plea with an explanation should be regarded as a not guilty plea, according to the justices of appeal.

Bruno Valmond, who had been sentenced for three years on a conviction of wounding, was also released on bail for the same reason. He had already spent over a year in prison. His matter was remitted to be retried before Chief Magistrate Evelina Baptiste on June 8, 2010 at a Roseau Magistrate’s Court.

Bruno Valmond

Teddy Ian Ellick- incarcerated since April 2009 on a conviction of threatening words and conduct- was given the option of $1,000 bail on his own recognizance, after the justices of appeal said that the relevant documents relating to the case were not found. The defendant is however already serving another sentence for an unrelated matter.

“We don’t know why you got here. We don’t know how you got here … At the absence of certain relevant documents that are required by law tells us that we should squash what has taken place … back to chief magistrate for the matter to be dealt with … and in accordance with the law,” one justice of appeal told him.

He will appear in court on June 8, 2010.

Ellick later withdrew his appeal.

A sentence against Shelton Hamilton where he was sentenced to seven years for theft and resisting arrest was altered. Though the justices of appeal ruled that Hamilton had been correctly sentenced on the theft conviction for six years, they concluded that the additional one year  jail for resisting arrest should have been made to run concurrent and not consecutively. He will now serve a total of six years imprisonment. Hamilton had a lengthy history of theft.

“You must stop taking people’s things,” the justices of appeal advised him.

The convicted man after hearing the outcome of his appeal stated, “All you let go all them criminals and behind me all you be?”

Kenneth Fontaine’s sentence of six years imprisonment for theft was reduced to four years, on the grounds that he had no history of theft. According to the Court of Appeal, “this is something he (the magistrate) should have taken into account.”

Meanwhile the decision for a matter involving Robin Daniel, convicted of  battery, has been reserved to be submitted in written form at a later date. This decision will be consolidated with other decisions. The justices of appeal agreed Daniel had not been given sufficient time to prepare for his trial, and there was no evidence that he had been awarded the opportunity to call his witnesses.

Another matter which involved Ian Williams was remitted to Magistrate’s Court for retrial, after the Court of Appeal concluded that his trial was also too swift. He was released on $1,000 bail on his own recognizance. He will appear in court on June 8, 2010.

According to information disclosed in the court, Williams had already spent 11 months in jail.

Bail was opened for Gerald Lewis, who had been sentenced to 12 years for grievous bodily harm. His matter  was also remitted  to the Magistrate’s Court for retrial before a different magistrate, other than Behanzin. Lewis had pleaded guilty with an explanation and sentenced without a trial.

Lewis was also deemed by a psychologist to be unfit to plea and stand trial,11 days before he was sentenced. His bail was opened in the sum of $3,000 with a proper surety.

Ian Williams

Carlos Edwards was also released after spending two of a six-year sentence on a conviction of theft. His appeal was successful on the grounds that there was evidence from the Magistrate’s Court that the defendant had only heard “some” of what was said during his trial since he had a hearing problem.Edwards told the Court of Appeal he was not able to hear properly. He had also informed Magistrate Behanzin of that issue, during trial.

“That would compromise justice … when we have looked at the fact that you have already spent two years in prison, it seems to us the better thing to do is to treat the time you spent in prison as time served and discharge you …We vary the sentence to two years … and treat it as the time spent in prison,” Justice Edwards noted.

The appeals involving Connie Royer, Richard Honore, Bethland Blanchard and Gibson Cochrane were successfully appealed. A decision was reserved for a matter involving Emmanuel Azille, who was convicted of possession of offensive weapon.

There were 13 Magisterial Criminal Appeals against Conviction and seven Magisterial Criminal Appeals against Sentencing- one of which was a matter Chief Magistrate Evelina Baptiste presided over.

The Court of Appeal convened on Monday at the Parliament building.

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144 Comments

  1. HELAS!
    November 9, 2011

    WHAT IS DEPRESSING FOR ME IS THOSE JUDGES AND LIKE MINDED OFFICIALS, WHO DO NOT SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE POOR MANS CRY!!

    WE NEED THE GOVT. TO PROPERLY AMEND THOSE LAWS WITH MINIMUM SENTENCES ETC.

    TWO WEEKS AND THREE WEEKS ETC IS PURE NONSENSE AND UTTER-RUBBISH

  2. the truth
    April 30, 2010

    one thing i know is that soon we will ask for more magistrates like him.people working so hard just look at those guys with no jobs, no inheritance they never worked and they are killing each other,killing our youth with the substances they give/sell to them. then they build the biggest mansions, drive the most expensive cars etc…, this only happens in Dominica…, and the one person who is trying some is wrong.

    • facts
      April 30, 2010

      i work in a law related field and have access to the law books of Dominica. fact every offence has a maximum penalty and others have a fee and prison penalty meaning both. the magistrates here uses so much discretion that when the offence is both they sometimes wave the prison part and impose a fine.(is that correct?)

      • a good citizen
        April 30, 2010

        facts i like that and i know what you are talking about…, in fact for drug trafficking it reads any person found guilty of a drug trafficking offence(not possession) drug trafficking is liable to a prison sentence not less than SEVEN years and (not or) and a fine not more than three times the street value of the substance….,tell the high court the AG and the DPP to sentence correctly yes exercise discretion but when a man is given 8 years for a murder related charge and another is given 25 years for drug it look to the public the justice was not served…, but who gave the wrong sentence…,

  3. Nathaniel Peltier
    April 26, 2010

    In all other cases guilty with explanation is a Guilty plea. Why not in this case?? The emphasis is on the word Guilty.

    • Anonymous
      May 6, 2010

      ‘Guilty with an explanation’ is not the same as guilty.

      This is because the explanation could prove that the legal requirements for the offence were not present. For example: The law is concerned not only with what was actually done (actus reus) but also with the mental culpability or blameworthiness of the accused. This is part of the reason why an ‘explanation’ of self defence in response to a murder charge will set the accused person free.

      Persons who plea guilty with an explanation may be aware that they did something (presumably wrong) but unable to precisely articulate the legal reason why this explanation matters. This is why they should be afforded a fair hearing and an opportunity to retain an attorney in order to ‘explain’ their defence.

      Persons accused of criminal offences are innocent until proven guilty. The law must protect the fundamental human rights of these people- their right to liberty, fair hearing etc. It is only when we are hauled before the courts (innocently or not) that we realise how powerful the state is and how weak we are. The law must be just and not oppressive.

  4. child
    April 24, 2010

    if they overiding all rullings by behanzin because they say the sentencing was too hash ,i think it would be just fair to override every case .what about the murderers that go free . what about people that just get a slap on the wrist for mischief .lets just go over the whole damn justice system in dominica …

  5. Neg Lawi
    April 24, 2010

    all u ain’t see notin yet….more criminals….i guess they are happy…pli tas pli twis

  6. April 23, 2010

    To all those who are happy and rejoicing, rejoice my brothers and sister, later will be greater, it is just a matter of time, right now any one can commit a crime, whatever crime they want, and walk free, gone are the days in Dominica when criminals who commit their crimes and ask the judge to send them up to Stock Farm because they want to be up there on time to get their lunch, these lawyers and judges should be working to protected citizens and as far as i can see they do not care, all that they are concern about is making their money, sad, Dominica is already a lawless island, where there are gang members is mostly all the villages, and for some kick ass individuals who are not from the island doing such, is opening the road and giving people with malicious intention thumps up to commit more crimes, this is sad i never heard of such, this is disrespectful for the young man, i could remembered when we had Mr Emmanuel (You Follow )n Dominica cleaning up the island, this was the very same reception he received, only to find out when it was all said and done, we were singing bring back Mano, i am so sorry for my grand kids raising in this island, soon countries will be advising their citizens who would like to visit Dominica as to what necessary measures they need to take when visiting Dominica as a tourist, ( i do not want to reopen any can of worm), many of us know that this happened in the 70s, there is not win win in this matter, Dominica is going to loose big time, when big cruise ships start to bypass Dominica and Tourist stop coming to Dominica, what you all gonna say, shame, shame and more shame to all those involved in putting those culprits back on the road, without completing their sentences, i used to enjoy sleeping at nights with my bedroom window open, oh me ho my gone are the days, my heart goes out to the victims of these crimes for which the criminals are walking free, let them think that they are free, i do hope that these characters have no kids, for if they do, what goes around comes around, this island of mines need a shake up, wake up call from the Almighty

  7. WOW
    April 23, 2010

    Them same people they free there coming right back in their face in the next couple of months. Why??? Because they are criminals and they were in the place where they were suppose to be JAIL. Good luck to you all with your judgments.

  8. Unbias
    April 23, 2010

    Benhazin actions were depressing?Reallly THAT is what she finds depressing.Ill tell you people what is depressing: This Judge een in Dominica and there are MUCH WORSE depressing things going on
    When criminals appear to have more rights than VICTIMS…THAT IS DEPRESSING! Appealing AND succeeding at cases when the victim’s voice is stifled!?
    When law abiding citizens have to walk on the same streets with their attackers who never paid or didn’t pay in full for their crime- THAT IS DEPRESSING!
    When there are lawyers who will knowingly defend guilty criminals to let them back out in society.-THAT IS DEPRESSING
    When no one is amending the laws of Dominica knowing there are loopholes and these devil’s advocates are riding on that-THAT IS BL**DY DEPRESSING!
    DEPRESSING is explaining to a child why money is worth more to some people than the better good of Dominica. Explaining to that child why someone would want to let the man/woman who has just molested her or burglarized her mother’s home to walk free to stare in her eyes again. Depressing is KNOWING and understanding THAT pain and seeing IT happen over and over again!
    DEPRESSING is knowing that our women of Dominica are not safe driving alone bathing in rivers alone, being alone???
    DEPRESSING is not being able to have a hand gun to defend yourself because you are an ordinary man but knowing than some money chasers can have theirs.
    DEPRESSING is watching this country turn to a lawless place and further a place where people live in fear; and worse- a place where law abiding citizens feel helpless and hopeless..
    Depressing is having a bleak future.
    Depressing is not spanning through documents which showed a man may have not used his” Discretion”.
    DEPRESSION is when the laws of Dominica don’t serve its purpose-To protect, to guide to govern to maintain stability and order.
    DEPRESSION is feeling what I feel. Depression is wondering how safe are your kids going to be? Will they make it home today?
    But the worse depression knows that another human who has kids and husbands and wives like you, unfortunately doesn’t have consciences. Unfortunately what is most depressing is knowing that the worse criminals will never be behind bars but will be walking in black and white with guilt and blood not on their hands but on their shoulders.

    The one who encourages the thief or buys the stolen goods is just as bad or worse. Why don’t we apply this truthful statement across the boards?

    We are allowing ourselves to be slaves of a failing system and blaming One Radical to divert the true problem.

    One question. I have NEVER ever not saying that it never happened but GOD knows it has never gotten this popularity…I have never heard a magistrate or judge work be questioned when the sentencing was too soft. I wonder why? Do you ever.

    • rohan
      April 24, 2010

      WOW!!!!!!…..Brilliant…..I see Dominica still have very intelligent and passionate people living there. (I do hope this person lives on the Island)…All is not lost afterall.

  9. April 23, 2010

    Oh Me Oh My, what i am reading there? i would like to know if i am blind or what, how is it that all these criminals are now free walking the streets when they were all convicted for their crimes comitted, believe me you guys in Dominica, you all are becoming the laugh ting stock to the world, sorry but i have to say that as of right now you all so called paradise island is not too far from being like Jamaica, i care lest what anyone of you have to say, this is shameful, as far as i heard this Magistrate Behanzin was born in Canada and the rest of the so called layers in your country do not appreciate what he is doing, the sentences that these individuals received is nothing compared to what they would be receiving elsewhere even in some other Caribbean Country, and the West, i have to say that this is a shame, the young ,man for sure is more educated that most of the layers you all have in your country, he level of studies are far more greater than those who are trying to keep him down, you all must go on the google what are the requirements to become a lawyer/attorney in Canada, the UK and the USA, and what are the requirements, unlike having people … this is ridiculous, this young man choose to go the the land of his father’s birth to make a different and here it is that he is not welcome, shame on you Dominicans, i also have to say not one of the so called lawyers in Dominica, if ever they decide to migrate to Canada, the UK or the USA will be able to work in their field, even call themselves lawyer, because they will have to meet all the requirements needed to work in that field in the Canada, the UK and the USA, for which they do not have, all the criminals are rejoicing, rejoice with them, one thing i know, when the shit start to hit the ceiling, do not cry Lord or Lord, later will be greater

  10. Bagguyla
    April 23, 2010

    Behanzin may have good intentions but he has to operate within the parameters of the law. Having so many of his judgements be overturned is a call for serious concern. Lets see what the Ministry of Legal affairs is going to do about that!! That is where things get interesting.

    • Sister sister
      April 23, 2010

      thigns get interesting when you realise that repeated offenders were presented to the court of appeal as first time offenders making it look like behanzin gave harsh sentences to first time offenders. This is the interesting issue we have to look at. Everyone of them have other matters going on in the court right now. each one of them. What do you have to say about that now.

    • rohan
      April 24, 2010

      The word is “perimeter”. Sir……..

  11. NegGwaTanse
    April 23, 2010

    Now check this out. A man “HASHAY” someone on his neck, cheek and nose – three cuts with a cutlass, pleads guilty with an explanation, the magistrate thinks that there can be no explanation for someone to commit such a crime and sentences. Now he is allowed to walk the streets to boast that he hashay somebody and he is king of his village? Now give me a break.

    I guess it is now ok to molest someone’s 12 year old daughter and plead guilty with an explanation.

    I will tell you one thing, if Dominica was a country like Jamaica where criminals hunted magistrates and judges, these judges would be happy to increase sentences and rule in the favour of rapid execution of capital punishment.

  12. Dubiqois
    April 23, 2010

    UNLESS SOMEONE CAN ANSWER THE QUESTION BELOW, OUR VIEWS ARE UNSUBSTANTIATED.

    This is one of the provisions as prescribed under our penal code for sentencing.

    “When imprisonment is to be awarded for any offense, and no definite period is fixed by the law, the term of the imprisonment shall always be in the discretion of the court passing the sentence…”

    Dominica Law: Chapter 12:01, Section 57.

    http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap12-01.pdf

    All I need to know is: Did Mr. Behanzin exercise his judgements as a result of no period of sentencing fixed by the law, or was his sentencing prescribed by the law, and he operated outside of that jurisdiction.

    If we do not know the answer to this question, and we are getting soundbites from the appeals court, then no one here has a valid point. Let us wait for the summation

    • Silence
      April 23, 2010

      oh boy how i agree to that.somebody has sense.i second that

    • rohan
      April 24, 2010

      YES!..I WILL ANSWER YOU…..First of all is there such a word as “unsubstantated”?..Thought the word is “unsubstantial”!…………And to answer your question……..The key there is “SHALL ALWAYS BE IN THE ‘DISCRESTION OF THE COURT PASSING THE SENTENCE”. So there you have it….The MAGISTRATE,at his discretion,can pass sentence as HE see fit in the contex of the Law.

      This is how the LAW is written Sir,

      Criminal Law and Procedure chap.12:01 7
      Section
      Part 9
      Punishment

      57. Where no definite Term of imprisonment is fixed by Law,Court may fix the Term,and where a fine may be awarded,fix the amount.

      And i why didn’t you mention 59.?

      59. Court may award imprionment for a subsequent offence before expiration of imprisonment for a prior offence,to commence on expiration of first imprisonment.

      So you see Sir,there you have it.

      Is there a SUPREME COURT on the Island or in the Region?,boy I sure hope so,because some of the decisions of the APPEALS COURT Justices seems questionable to me based on their reasoning which makes no sense.

      PEACE Profound!!!!

      • Dubiqois
        April 24, 2010

        Thanks for your feedback. To say the least, it appears that there may some alterior motive to the inquisition. I await the final summation.

        Yes. There is such a word as unsubstantiated.

        • rohan
          April 24, 2010

          (Smiles)…I was about to say,your sense of humor is defiantly evasive..(lol),but i will refrain from such remarks……Intelligence is about understanding. I like such people and do like engaging them at times…….I do believe you are an intelligent person,or should i say somewhat?..just kidding….(smile)…..But you and i have some unfinished business on a previous Comment not long ago..remember?……The waiting continuessss.
          Peace Profound!!!!!!!

  13. Kaiso
    April 23, 2010

    Well I starting to write my calypso from all now so because that just beat all. Look nonsense in a place. I must win de crown. Just wait & you’ll see.

  14. Pedro
    April 23, 2010

    Congratulations to Hermisha Rolle and DNO for the oustanding and thorough reporting. Hermisha, I have followed your reporting everyday and I must say that your work stands out. Superb job. I hope DNO recognizes this talent. DNO you guys have taken reporting to a new level and this is appreciated.

  15. REMAIN WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF THE LAWS
    April 23, 2010

    Have a read…………

    Thursday, April 22, 2010
    Appeals court overturns 19 of 20 sentences handed down by Magistrate Behanzin
    In a stunning series of decisions, an appeals court in Roseau, Dominica have ruled that 19 of 20 sentences handed down by magistrate Tiyani Benhanzin were contrary to the law and have ordered the release of most of the men sentenced by the magistrate or ordered retrials.

    Head of the three member appeals panel Justice Ola Mae Edwards remarked in frustration that “every step he (Magistrate Behanzin) made was the wrong step, it’s very depressing.” She also remarked that Behazin had shown a trend of “arbitrary sentencing with no regards to the law.”

    The appeal panel from the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court comprising Justices Ola Mae Edwards, Michael Gordon Q.C and Janice Mesadis George-Creque ordered the immediate release of some of the men from prison including two who had spent more than two years in jail. They ruled that the sentences were too harsh and out of step of the laws of Dominica.

    The reversal of virtually all of magistrate’s Behanzin’s rulings have dealt a further blow to the beleagued local magistrate who has been summoned before an arbitration commission for wrong doing in the execution of his duties.

    The case was brought by several other lawyers including Chief Magistrate Evalina Baptiste, but has since been adjourned with no new date set for the hearing. Last year in a highly spectacular move, the Chief Magistrate went on local radio to denounce Behanzin accusing him of allowing his feelings to come in the way of his legal judgments.

    Just days before the September 2009 criminal assizes, there were several reports that police officers were transferring cases of their friends and relatives from Behanzin to other magistrates. The reports prompted Police PRO Claude Weekes at the time to publicly denounce the action of the officers and called for it to stop.

    He went on to say that “the public might feel that his sentences are disproportionate, they might feel like this person should have gone to jail, while this person ought not to have gone to jail and the sentences are not fair or not standardized but again like I said its they way that the magistrate sees it or the judge sees it after hearing all of the evidence, then they come to that decision and determination.”

    In what many considered to be an outrageous sentence, Clement Edgar was sentenced to six months in prison for the theft of 36 huggie diapers valued at $61.50. It was his first offence.

    Damien Scotland of Newton was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for the theft of a car battery costing $250 after pleading guilty.
    After pleading guilty to stealing $377.95 worth of groceries from his employer’s restaurant at Woodbridge Bay, Kussy Evans was sentenced to six months in prison.

    In June 2009, 23-year-old Leroy Leblanc and 24-year-old Reggie Benjamin of Portsmouth were both sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of theft, battery and possession of an offensive weapon. The two had raided the yacht of a visiting German couple.

    Also in June, a Marigot man, Falcon Wallace regretted taking a $200 bicycle for a joy ride after he was sentenced to two years hard labour after pleading guilty to the theft.

    In August 2009, George Baron considered himself rather unlucky to appear before Magistrate Behanzin for the theft of a goat. He was slapped with a $3 000 fine or would face a one-year prison sentence. The married father of three had previously told the magistrate that he took the goat because he was owed $150 by the owner.

    Epson Stuart got two years in prison with hard labour for the theft of a car stereo after being found guilty of entering into the home of Kendel Rodney and stealing an audio stereo from his bus.

    In September, Luford George of Calibishie was fined half a million dollars with a quarter million to be paid immediately or face seven years in prison. In addition, George was also given a suspended fine of EC$138, 000 (US$51,110) which he would have to pay if convicted of a similar offence within a two year period

    The son of former Prime Minister Roosevelt Douglas who was born in Canada and converted to the muslim faith was sworn in as a local magistrate in March 2009.

    Behanzin, who had not lived in Dominica before serving as magistrate said at his swearing in that he was returning to serve the people of Dominica because this was the right thing to do.

    He pointed to the public service of his family members including that of his father, his uncle Mike Douglas who served as a government minister, and his cousin Ian Douglas currently serving as tourism minister.

    Now that all of these men have had their sentences thrown out, it was not immediately clear whether they would take legal action seeking damages against the State.

    This is a deep embarassment for the Justice System in Dominica. 19 out of 20. This is unheard of in modern legal systems.

    But I’m glad to see that there are indeed checks and balances. Clearly, Behanzin have lost his moral authority to continue as magistrate and should do the honorable thing, RESIGN. Failing that he should be forced out.

    How can you send a young person to prison for stealing a bike, or pampers. Young people do foolich things sometimes but you must tamper justice with compassion.

    Don’t create hardened criminals from petty thiefs. Behanzin’s was a fool’s errand and I’m glad he has been pulled up!!!

    Why is he still a magistrate?

    These actions by the magistrate sound like the actions of Gene Hackman in the western movie Hang them High, way overboard, overstepping authority.

    Who is controlling that magistrate? Good thing the appeals court stepped in.

    The episodes look like something that came out of the wild wild west.Fine them, jail them and make them pay outrageous fines even for petty theft, the magistrate needs to be impeached, then jailed himself along with the very people he jailed and put all the police on vacation while he is in jail.

    • Joker in Harlem
      April 23, 2010

      You said it best,All the fools who are writing all their garbage,need to know about the law or keep their mouth shut, wrong is wrong.

    • April 23, 2010

      Striking against the magistrate this way is bad, We seem bent on supporting lawlessness because we ourselves are law breakers. there is a possible legal sentence for every type of crime, and the Magistrates who do not have the balls to go it tough and sends someone 3 weeks jail for a serious offense is a nice guy. your turn will come, when the criminals will find our address and then we will all say How I wish he had remained.

      Before you curse him up find out what were the maximum sentence they could have gotten according to Dominica Law—–Not magistrates code of procedure . i can never support CCJ.

    • rohan
      April 24, 2010

      Man,do you have an agenda or what?..So you would like the Magistrate to go to jail,the Police to take a vacation,while the criminals go free…Wow!….What a guy….Did you fall off the wagon?,or did the person who was dictating what to write to you left you just before you were finished?….Cause surely, it seems to me that you were left alone in right field….Man,….phew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Alas.. my heart bleeds
    April 23, 2010

    Justice Ola Mae Edwards is a Jamaican… it seems that she wants Dominica to fall into the lawlessness which is now happening daily in her own country! When she was the Director of Public Prosecution in Dominica ….

    I do not totally agree with everything that Magistrate Behanzin has done but I do not think that the Justices were totally right either. They have just sent the wrong messages to the happy and delighted criminals who are back on the streets to continue their sprees with boldness and smiles on their faces. Magistrate Behanzin, continue the work you are doing, make the necessary adjustments but by no means back down because we need to rid our beautiful island of criminals and prospective ones. When Magistrate Monica Joseph (who was before your time and is non-Dominican) sentenced rapists and child molesters to 85 years in prison, drugmen were fined 50,000 and upwards to be paid immediately or spend 20 years in prison etc etc etc, our Nature Isle had certainly seen a drastic decrease in such horrendous crimes and we were all happy. No one was complaining but now a Dominican brother has taken up the mantle and all some of us do is smash his name. I hope the criminals the justices released will come after folks like you or you yourself and leave my family alone.

    Over 10 years ago, Grenada, St. Kitts and St. Vincent I believe, (not fully certain of SVG) copied the constitution of Dominica from our lawbooks at a law enforcement symposium, verbatim, and only changed the fines and duration of the prison sentences … they were increased. They claimed (and it was Dominica’s honor to know) that Dominica has the best constitution in the Caribbean. Ask the ex-Commissioner of Police (Lestrade) and the present (Jno Baptiste) for verification on this symposium thing. Its true. Some of our laws needs to be changed in the very same context to allow what the other islands aforementioned has done but if they were smart enough to see and know that we do have the best constitution, then it appears that some of us Dominicans clearly do not know what we have or hold in our law books.

  17. April 23, 2010

    Ha,ha, ha… we are all idiots … but Hope is worse. The POPES declared to be INFALLIBLE.!

    JENNY A***

  18. child
    April 23, 2010

    i think thats a setup …….behansin,leave those people in the crime infested nation ,i hope they find a way out of it .(bunch of crocked crookes)

  19. look tory
    April 23, 2010

    what the hell is this? 1yr is sufficient for wounding? what nonsense is this ner?

  20. Janet Birmingham
    April 23, 2010

    On a very basic level, as much as I Iike the thought of a Magistrate hitting the criminals where it hurts and disappointed that Magistrate Behanzin got it so wrong. The realist in me must agree with the comments that effective or not, Magistrates must work within the law – anything but means they are just ad-libbing! if you are there to adhere to the law to judge whether or not a law has been broken, you cannot then break the law to arrive at a decision. However, I would be interested to know the correlation between sentencing and crime rates since the arrival of Magistrate Behanzin, in the areas he presided in. I dont know how this would work or if it is even possible but you do get the impression that the criminals were running scared at the thought of appearing before Mr Behanzin and people, in Portsmouth in particular, felt much ‘safer’. If such a survey could be undertaken, perhaps any findings could serve as one of many aids in any reviewing or updating of the laws, which as many have said are very antiquated and do not take into account just how much more sophisticated and brutal crime and criminals have become. It can also serve as reinforcement to other Magistrates, both new and experienced, on the lawful and unlawful in terms of sentencing.

    Where now for Magistrate Benhanzin, with all but one of his cases overturned any way you look at it makes him appear incompetent. Either he is ahead of his time, making him ahead of our laws or…….???!!!………………………………… doesn’t bear thinking about!!! Despite being a realist, the basic person in me still hopes its the first observation.

    • April 23, 2010

      WHEN THE LAW FOR WOUNDING PERMITS UP TO TEN YEARS, WHAT IS THREE YEARS, TWO YEARS , A YEAR?

    • JAYJAYJAYJAY
      April 30, 2010

      I am from Portsmouth, and I can tell you NO ONE wants to go before Magistrate Behanzin. I must agree that there are laws and that they were put there for a purpose. His reputation seemed to have been very effective in our area, but now that everything has been turned topsy-turvy, I can see the criminals smiling again, because their fears have been lifted. Naturally, they will be back to their old habits again or even worse because they have the law on their side. Our justice system really need an over-haul.

  21. chemist
    April 23, 2010

    Is this a personal attack on Magistrate Tiyani Behanzin. I find it hard to believe that he could be so wrong on all these cases!!! What signal are we sending to criminals in this country??

  22. Hope
    April 23, 2010

    All of all you DNO readers wanted to jump on the pope back – the talk was always no one is above the law (yes i agree), so why is it okay for Tiyani to be above the law? When it suits you? Idiots. 80 comments, 76 idiots!

    • really????
      April 23, 2010

      really? 76 idiots? I think you just made it 77!

    • NegGwaTanse
      April 23, 2010

      I wonder if your comment is counted among the idiots. I guess not. Everyone else is an idiot but you.

  23. dominicanfirst
    April 23, 2010

    As far i i understood and somebody correct me me if i am reading wrong or missunderstood.The magistrate knew that the crime was commited and the individual had to be punished but here is where it gets real interested “the sentencing was to harsh” am i hearing right? Are u guys really serious when u talking about crime is on the rise with the sentencing to f….ing serious.God help u bastard as lawyers and magistrates lawlessness will always continue

  24. Observer
    April 23, 2010

    It seems that criminals have more rights in this law. Or is this just another way of undermining the brother on the legal rulings he has made. This is a very unusual twist as far as the law goes.

  25. SERIOUSLY!
    April 23, 2010

    DOMNIQUE FINI BAT!! When criminals can cry foul and win, we go no where. The majistrate gave a sentence which is on books!! He did not make up the time. If it is unlawful then change it. In the mentime, people do little time and then they are out again to repeat. NOU FINI BATT!!

  26. hmmmmm
    April 23, 2010

    Why aren’t our laws being updated? Behanzin’s practices seem to have more than what our laws provide for. Times are changing. Crime is on the rise. What are the People in the Ministry of Legal Affairs doing bout that to ensure the persons are being made an example of.

    But then again, the country poor and they need to keep charging people to make money from them. Probably that just another tactic to bleed the people if the little money that they have.

    It seems to me that Dominicans are the ones who are keeping themselves back. Yet we all complain Things are bad and the country backward.

    hmmmmmm

    • Tete sot
      April 23, 2010

      IF the ministry of legal affairs cannot and will not upgrade our laws as they relate to criminal activity then we the LAW abiding and HARD working citizens will have no choice but to ARM ourselves legally to protect and defend our families and our properties. The law must serve as a deterent . PLEASE upgrade the ALL the laws on our books to reflect the times we are living in.There must be no loop holes , only MANDATORY sentences for criminal activities including drugs, theft, burglary, possesion of illegal weapons, rape, wounding , etc. NOTICE i did not mention MURDER. murder= HANGING.

  27. en ba la
    April 23, 2010

    Was there or is there any governing body looking at the appointments and performance of individulas in these positions?

    It seems like he was being set up for failure. Why so many of his rulings being thrown out NOW except one – was anyone offering guidance to him as a new magistrate? HE WAS NOT RUNNING A PRIVATE PRACTICE. I have issues with the people who appointed the man – first off there must have been complaints about his ruling – WHY HAVE HIM CONTINUE. Investigate the case while he is not assigned to any other cases.I do not know the process but I doubt THIS WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THIS FAR.

    The way we operate in this country is we have to experience a downfall first and then we have the daunting task of trying to rise. WE LOVE CONTROVERSY IN THIS COUNTRY.

    Our priorities are in all the wrong places. Matters pertaining to the laws and people’s life should be given higher priority than that.

    • Anonymous
      April 23, 2010

      Thank you so much for that comment…very well said

      • Thanks
        April 23, 2010

        True One. All these convictions and nothing done. In the meantime, the criminals become ‘victims’ in their own right and the Magistrate waits to be humpty dumpty.

    • April 23, 2010

      DO NOT WORRY THE CASES THEY TRY BE IT MURDER OR MORE GO DOWN THE DRAIN

  28. April 22, 2010

    We are in April 2010, is it now madame Ola Mae sees mr Tyani is abusing his position?

    Is it because of the recent misunderstandind between them, that she tried to come up with some

    to squeeze him?

    It seemed some of the cases are as old as two years! Why did she allow it to go on like that?

    I do trust that…. Behind that got more appeals! Criminals can go on a short vacation now.

    Government need to FIX, REPAIR OR OVERHAUL THAT PROBLEM NOW !

  29. mention
    April 22, 2010

    look crap i agree with u all the way.have you guys realise that the way crimes are committed now in comparison to years before is way different.criminals everyday are finding new n better methods to commit their crime.crime was less rampant before and these ppl will look for all kind of devices or ways to commit it without been caught…so now they are doing these modern day crimes why dont the government adjust the penalties to suit these crimes….before ppl would settle a dispute irrespective of wat dispute hand to hand and now is cutlass,knife and gun………drugs trafficking is more rampant in this country,ppl who neva worked in their life have big car and house while u have to work for 20 yrs and more to earn that….we have banking fraud…computer hacking and a whole set of crimes in this small country that is left unpunished or the criminals getting a slap on their wrist…….i mean we cant have old laws in this modern world……i wonder wat will be the outcome of the incident with the guy who they found skeleton bones in his premises at elmshall……god bless

  30. lawful
    April 22, 2010

    wel well well what are you all telling the good for nothing to go out and do what they want to and them appeal it the magistrate was good and he did his job let them stay in jail if they did the crime face the time all you will make all dominican stay away fr dominica cause the release rooming the street looking to do more i want them to start by the appeal judge family first and then they will put them back in jail

  31. ..........i............
    April 22, 2010

    If tiyani …worked in the US he would be disbarred!

    • NO MAN OR WOMAN IS ABOVE ADHERING THE RULES OF THE LAWS PUT IN PLACE FOR A REASON!
      April 23, 2010

      I totally agree with ‘Ashton Riviere’ & ‘Hope’ and ‘i’ I is also correct, as the very same would be the case if he was in the identical capacity in the UK or his birth country Canada and numerous others as well!

      Such a shame so many Dominicans if they agree with you for whatever reason, whether you breeched laws or rules, so many do not seem to have the backbone or even common sense to let this person know their actions are unacceptable. Instead they held up in high esteem just becuase they agree with the individual.

      I honestly thought my people were more enlightened than, that and as such are evolved enough to know that just because you like someone, doesn’t mean you cannot or should never disagree with any actions that are wrong.

      As we leave in a democracy exercise your voice by writing to your respective Parliamentarians voicing your concerns and take it from there, which Ashton Riviere so eloquently conveyed.

      It takes a bigger individual to realise when someone has gone outside of the guidelines in place and thus breeched those rules, to say said individual was ‘wrong’ and not continue to say they were ‘right.’ WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER YOU DO BETTER!

  32. Londoner
    April 22, 2010

    I am very happy with the Court of Appeal’s statement. Tiyani needs to check himself. I am also happy that it is a female judge leading the judges… He is now going around being angry at the judges just as he was going around being rude to the Chief Magistrate. Why does he not ask himself a question. This is not a muslim state. This place is not Afghanistan.

    • April 23, 2010

      YOU ARE NOT IN THE KITCHEN STRANGER?

  33. FBD
    April 22, 2010

    SHAME SHAME SHAME SHAME ! ! ! on these Court of Appeals personnel . SHAME !
    Seepoom, i agree with you 100%

  34. Triplea
    April 22, 2010

    All i will say is we NEED more judges like Behanzin this country…

  35. Wesley
    April 22, 2010

    I agree with ERIC CARTMAN and other educated folks posting on here.

    Did he or did he not follow the laws, that is the question. The next question is, what disciplinary action if any should be taken.

    Everything else is uneducated and foolish.

    It’s that simple. I don’t care whether he wanted to make Dominica crime free or whatever, I don’t care about his intentions. What I care about is whether he was following the laws and sentencing guidelines on the books. Everything else is irrelevant. Stick to the facts of the matter at hand.

    • Anonymous
      April 23, 2010

      That’s why man killing man in Wesley and no one can take jail for it yet! Is people like you that like robots without the ability to reason. It’s man that wrote those laws when they applied to the society at the time. Times change and so do people. It did not have TV and internet and all the communication and knowledge spreading. Anyone can google how to do some crime especially where they didn’t have the mental capacity to think of it for themselves.

      Anyways, leave de man alone. It always have to take one to start a revolution! Tell them try a ting on de man and you’ll see a real demonstration in Roseau.

      • Wesley
        April 23, 2010

        It’s ironic that you would refer to me as a “robot that is unable to reason”, YET you failed to reasonably give a critical analysis of my point.

        In case you misunderstood my earlier point, here it is again: Did he or did he not follow the laws/sentencing guidelines, that is the question. The next question is, if he failed to follow the laws/sentencing guidelines, then what disciplinary action if any should be taken ?.

        This is not about personalities, hurt feelings, or emotional breakdowns. Common, take another shot at addressing my point.

    • sherlock holmes
      April 23, 2010

      wesley- you should very much care that he wants to make dominica a crime free place. maybe then all these unsolved murders in wesley can be solved.

  36. you don't say- we know the truth!!!
    April 22, 2010

    … Why did the state not defend any of Behanzins decission. If Ola may says that behanzin’s decissions were depressing … She and the other judges uphold his 6 year sentence for theft based on the defendant’s previous convictions, some 25. Now what would have happened if the DPP had presented the previous convictions for the wounding etc. … The sentences were with the maximum allowed for the law, but the Court of Appeal always reduce sentences. The Court of Appeal must have realised that Behanzin’s sentences were not being defended nor were previous convictions being attached when they criticised the DPP.

    There is more to this story, I hope Behanzin tells all. Peters was a magistrate and did not have the same impact, so he is now upset … The Court of Appeal had some scaving words for the lawyers and other Magistrates, including the Chief Magistrate, so why are they attacking only Behanzin. Lewis the Court aid uses cash bail to discourage appeal, so why only attack behanzin, the only couragous one? People prepare yourselves!!!!!!

  37. rastafari
    April 22, 2010

    “In one instance, Justice of Appeal, Honourable Ola Mae Edwards stated, “every step he (Magistrate Behanzin) made was the wrong step, it’s very depressing.”

    Now that Magistrate Behanzin has officially been declared incompetent by the appropriate authority – the next step must be his immediate resignation or sacking.

    IN the real world, this is what happens in cases of gross negligence – one get dismissed. To continue to allow Dominicans to appear before this man would amount to a human rights violation against he Dominican public.

    “Magistrate Behanzin had shown a trend of “arbitrary sentencing,” with no regards to the law.”

    No individual should have to appear before such a magistrate. In addition to the above he is a) not qualified b) not admitted to practice law in Dominica c) been officially declared incompetent by both the Court of Appeal and the chief magistrate. d) very arrogant and disrespectful – which is the basis of another investigation/inquiry.

    When is the madness going to stop? If the justice system is to maintain any credibility at all, his dismissal needs to be followed up by an inquiry into: One what basis did Ian Douglas – Tiyani’s cousin appoint him to a job he know very well he was not qualified for?

    • Up or down, what you think?
      April 23, 2010

      Rastafari, you are officially declared an “a**” as of today, Tiyani is very well qualified in his field is the British Cannons that have criminals walking losely around the place. That magistrate is the kind we need in the next level,” upwards” . He definately not for the one we box in presently.

      • Anonymous
        April 23, 2010

        Very well said Rastafari

      • Only Observing.
        April 23, 2010

        I agree. with you wholeheartedly. I have to see that they literally beg for him to straighten up those blasted criminals who seem to have more rights than law-abiding citizens.

        I have to see those criminals attack … Then l see if his sentencing is too harsh.

        Their time is coming, watch you will see. They too Wicked and Bad!

      • rastafari
        April 23, 2010

        When the Dominica Bar Association brought their complaints against Behanzin he submitted to the tribunal in his own defense that the proper legal procedures have not been observed and the matter was adjourned until such a time. Yet, when it comes to those who appear before him, all procedural and legal considerations are thrown out the window? His actions are a clear violation basic human rights:

        That is the right to a fair trail, the right to due process of law, the right to call witnesses in ones own defense, and the right to have all the facts considered before rendering judgement. These are basic human rights which apply not only in Dominica but universally. Not only should be be sacked but he should be brought before a human rights tribunal….and all of the victims should be compensated by the state!

        • Manchat!
          April 25, 2010

          I just have a few questions for you Sir,…To whom are you referring when you say..”all the victims should be compensated?..did you mean the people those crimes were perpetrated against,or the criminals that were set free?,….and was it really a case of Human rights violations or the Rights of some criminals?(yes in a Democracy criminals to have Rights.).Or was it a case of the Rule Law,viz. or viz.(videlicet): Sentencing guidelines; overlooked by a young magistrate,who let his emotions compromised his judgment?. I’ll humbly await your answer or response Sir.
          PEACE Profound!!!!

          • Manchat!
            April 25, 2010

            Sorry….i meant to say.”the Rule of Law”…….I mistakenly left out the little word “of”.

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          • rastafari
            April 27, 2010

            Manchant

            First of all, our legal system operates on the presumption of innocence. This is why, most democratic and common law jurisdictions constitutionally guarantee the right to procedural fairness. These are rights that are entrenched, therefore they are not negotiable and they can not be over-turned by no one.

            Not by a judge, magistrate, attorney general, prime minister or by the passing new new laws, any new law which seek to invalidate these rights is itself invalid (i.e. unconstitutional).

            So, one only becomes a criminal once he/she have had the benefit of a fair trial, that means rendering judgement (including sentencing) on the laws of the country, and considering all of the evidence.

            According to the authorities, this … (Tiyani Behanzin) has no regard for the law at all, so how could it be possible to get a fair trial in his court room?

            So, all 18 individuals who had their sentences reduced are victims of human rights violations, and should collectively file a class action-suit against the government seeking compensation for unjust punishment.

            It’s not like the government did not know, the Chief Magistrate on public radio said Behanzin is using emotion and not legal principles in rendering judgement. The entire legal fraternity with the support of the Dominica Bar Association has complained to the authorities as well, yet nothing was done to relieve him of his duties.

            The government, and particularly the Attorney General and the Minister of legal affairs has a duty of care to ensure that every Dominican who appears before a court it treated fairly, with respect and sentenced in accordance with the law.

            And, since the government failed to carry out this duty, by not only hiring Behanzin who… in the first place but also for announcing his incompetence to the world on public radio while continuing to allow him to violate the constitutional right of all of those how appear before him.

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          • rastafari
            April 27, 2010

            Sorry I meant Manchat…

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          • Manchat!
            April 28, 2010

            Greetings to you Sir,and thank you for your response.
            I want to begin by finishing you first sentence..One is presumed innocent- until proven guilty.which i noticed you left out(until proven guilty). And yes,then comes due process,which is afforded under the Law,in a Democracy….But let us not kid ourselves that is not always the case….sometimes it’s the other way around; even in a Democracy….One can be Innocent until proven guilty and still be Remanded in Custody…So will you cry Human Rights violation in this case as well.No, Remember,Sir that there has not been a trial yet…Yet all those procedures are part of the process……..I do not believe Sir that we were talking about innocent people who were sent to Prison without Due Process.No….We are talking about people who committed crimes and pleaded guilty in some cases,or were found guilty in other cases….The problems were with the Sentencing Guidelines and Sentences allowed by Law(jail time),that were not followed by the Magistrate.(Not Human rights violations.). And my question to you was,who are the real victims here.
            Now in Govt.,you have the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. The later is responsible for making Laws,(Passing Laws)..repealing Laws and AMENDMENTS(revision or change proposed or made into Law…which can be in the form of a bill passed by your members of Parliament)…That has nothing to do with the Constitution or Constitutional Law……….We are talking about Penal Code/ Criminal Laws and Procedures……
            We have to be careful sometimes so as not to let our emotions get in the way of our rationale which can affect our judgment.
            I suggest respectfully Sir, that you read my comments again and also read my comments further down;scroll pass” Dubiqois”. pertaining to this same matter…….Thank you Sir,all the best to you.I look forward to engaging you again in the future.
            Peace Profound!!!!!!!!!

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          • rastafari
            April 28, 2010

            Manchat

            Surely you can not have due process of law when according to Honorable Ola Mae Edwards

            ““Every step he (Magistrate Behanzin) made was the wrong step.”

            Due process requires that every step is the right step, which in turn leads to a fair and legal result.

            And, to answer your question even in cases where defendants are remanded in custody, due process is required.

            That is, the defendants are afforded a bail hearing, submissions are made on the defendants behalf, aggravating and mitigating circumstances are considered, the defendants criminal history in considered, the seriousness of the allegation is considered, the chances of defendant absconding is considered, whether the defendant is employed is considered, any references may be tendered on the defendants behalf, and then, equally importantly, the applicable common law is applied – all of these things collectively is what is called “due process”.

            So no just because someone is remanded in custody prior to their trial does not make it a human rights violation but not being afforded due process of law is in fact a violation of one’s human right to procedural fairness.

            And, I do not see how it could be possible for one to maintain human rights standards when EVERY STEP (in the process) was deemed to be wrong – according to Honorable Edwards. And this is not just in one case, which may be a isolated incidence but in 18 out of 19 cases – the appeals court also noted that so-called Magistrate Behanzin had shown a TREND, of arbitrary sentencing with NO REGARDS TO THE LAW….YES, make no mistake about it – these are clearly human rights violations.

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        • Manchat!
          May 2, 2010

          That remark by the Jurist Sir,was a very unfortunate one.I am quite sure it was made off the record,or maybe, taken out of context.
          Ok Sir, all the best to you.
          Peace Profound!!!!!!!

  38. Dubiqois
    April 22, 2010

    Good observation Kalinago…

    I understand Mr. Behanzin’s intentions. He definitely does not want D/ca to fall in line with places like Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, etc. The criminals and criminal acts that have been committed in Dominica lately are not the crimes of days of old. Unfortunately, it is quite possible that our penal codes have not kept up with the crime evolution. That is where Mr. Behanzin has tried to mitigate the fission; and may have operated beyond the jurisdiction as prescribed under the law. That is the technicality that they are using to discredit him.

    Is it a question of harsh sentencing; or is it a question of miscarriage of the penal codes? Either way, I do not think that the penal codes give enough leverage to judges like Mr. Behanzin. Sentencing must be severe enough to deter crimincal activities. In many instanes, good judges are sometimes handicapped by weak penal codes.

    http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap12-01.pdf

    • Manchat!
      April 25, 2010

      I am fascinated by all who commented on this issue…and you know what I gathered from all this?…Dominicans are in most part a very smart and intelligent people.But they tend to get very emotional,and in so doing their emotions get the better part of their judgment and rationale.and as a result of their irrationality,some form of chaos occur….But in spite of that am very encouraged.I chose not to comment for various reasons which includes partiality……Mr.Dubiqois do not flatter yourself because i wrote this under your comment(which is precise and to the point by the way)…OK I’m just kidding…I like what you had to say…..The Legislative branch of your Govt. has to Amend some of your Laws.The Judicial System should not be a revolving door for criminals,and also there should be stiffer sentences for repeat offenders…Remember what i wrote before about why Govt.s are instituted among men?……Society has a right to be protected from criminals.
      Dominicans needs to lift each other up more and be less divided if they want to become One Nation.
      Thanks……..and…Peace Profound!!!!!!!!

  39. Eric Cartman
    April 22, 2010

    Big up to the intelligent Dominicans on here like InCoGnItO, No Name,Pastor Rawls, APPRECIATE FAIRNESS and Kalinago who put aside emotions and make sensible contributions.

    Anyone who thinks that the Court of Appeal judges have some conspiracy against Tiyani is so ignorant and uneducated its disgraceful.

    The man has to sentence within the law. It’s simple as that. At this point this is even ample grounds to fire him.

    I was supporting this man all along but now that the facts are out that he wasn’t following the law I would be retarded to still be trying to pretend he is right in his actions

  40. Power to the People
    April 22, 2010

    Dem appeal Judges should feel ashamed of themselves. What signals are they sending to the criminals? Their time will come and I hope they don’t start singing a different song. It already happening in St Lucia. One day the rooster will come to roost and I want to see what they will do then. But, I know it will be too late. For the year St Kitts has had 13 murders and St Lucia 11? But is always the little man that will pay the price. Benhanzin, don’t worry. Let them do what they want. All of them in a fraternity and they trying to protect their clan. You are new to the scene, and just learning. Take courage comrade and dont let Ola Mae Edwards deter you. Its a clique. Time will tell……………………..

  41. s c
    April 22, 2010

    WHATS HAPPENING IS THAT DOMINICA IS BECOMING A LAWLESS STATE, WHICH ORIGINALLY BEGAN WHEN THE PM SAID! NO LAW, NO CONSTITUTION CAN PREVENT ME FROM BEING NOMINATED TODAY. SO WHAT ELSE BREAKING OF THE LAWS IF FROM THE TOP, SO OTHERS FOLLOW. GOD BLESS TIYANI BUT WOE ON THOSE WHO TRY TO SMEAR A GOOD MANS WORK

    • Anonymous
      April 22, 2010

      sacway sot

    • Mr. J
      April 22, 2010

      sacway sot ou yay

    • Based on the rulings of the appeal court, I have now come to realize, and agree with the magistrate who’s name I am unable to pronounced, but knowing that he is biologically an Douglas, and although I did not like his father’s politics, I do agree with him that there seems to be a conspiracy to destroy him.

      In Dominica people like to run their mouth off, talking about the number of crimes committed, that indeed is true, yet it seems to me that our people prefer the murders, thieves, vagabonds, and scamps get away with their crime than face their punishment.

      Majority, is not always right, and just because three or more people claim that the hero as I term him went outside of the law in his sentencing, they have not presented any point of law to substantiate their argument.

      They are just babbling.

      Show me a precedence on which they based their argument.

      Let us deal with it from a legal point of view and not just sweet sounding, feel good sentiments that you the so called appeal judges believe the culprits would like to hear.

      This man has the guts to carry out his job according to the law, as far as I am concerned, and chicken soft heart so called judges appeared to have turned on him.

      Meanwhile you the judges, have just handed the culprits in Dominica a license to go out and commit as much crime as they wish, because they are now sure that the laws of our country is none effective against them.

      I would like to advice this hero, this brave magistrate, to continue in his path, his destiny to change the status quo in our country. If you are certain that you are not operating outside of the law, continue to dispense the harshest sentence, the maximum according to the law.

      Your conscience should not be affected, do the right thing at all times, according to the laws of the land, not worrying about what the chicken heart, weak tin idols, poppet’s think about you, while they are setting criminals free, many as my late nephew was murdered, and his killer, or killers are still out there, perhaps getting ready to kill this very day.

      I am in support in all that you do; you sir, thus far has done an excellent job, please do not quit!

      Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • Power to the People
      April 22, 2010

      Man what are you really saying???

  42. rohan
    April 22, 2010

    Seems like a vendetta against the young Magistrate whom i know personally.He is brilliant and more qualified than most of the Lawyers and Magistrates in Dominica….
    He loves Dominica and has a passion for his job,unlike many others in public service.
    Who the heck is Ola Mae Edwards and where the hell is she from?..Is she Dominican? do she have Dominica and Dominicans at heart,or do she thinks that Dominica or its justice system is interior to hers?…No jurist in their right mind makes that kind of remarks……..Who is going to benefit from all this mess,the victims, or the Lawyers?…..What a joke!!!!! Now we have to worry about the revolving doors for criminals in our justice system in DA.
    That young and brilliant Magistrate is from the BOWYO of DA…I wonder if the BIG CAT was around today if all this would be going on?……Just asking and wondering………..Peace!!!!!!!!!
    TIYANI….LOVE YOU MAN. KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AND DON’T LET THEM RUN YOU NOR GET YOU DOWN…..AND ALSO KEEP THE PREASURE UP!!……LAND OF YOUR FATHER(S) baby………
    Peace Profound!!!!!

  43. InCoGnItO
    April 22, 2010

    The Law is the law and as much as we the citizens have to follow the law the judges have an obligation to do there job with accordiance to the law if Behanzin’s sentencing was not done in accordance with the law and steps are taken to correct it i see no problem in that but with the same breath as some of the comments states alot of our laws need to be reviewed and reconstitutionalised to fit the crimes of the present day cause alot of us agree with the sentencing handed down by Behanzin to be fitting for the crimes so maybe its time for the law makers to step up and change/revise some of our laws and sentencing …………..I have most times agreed with Behanzin’s sentencing but if its not done in accordance with the law it has to be corrected ….God Bless Behanzin i hope the right authorities take note of these comments and do what needs to be done and this does not deter you (Behanzin) to continue from doing your job …

  44. Dominica's Future
    April 22, 2010

    Seems to me nothing in Dominica is not set in stone right now. One day something is wrong the next day it is right. I smell a fish sitting by the wayside for days now – worse – I smell a rat!!!

  45. Ashton Riviere
    April 22, 2010

    Behanzin may be well intentioned , his sentences may in fact be suited to the crimes perpetrated but the problem is that he may have operated outside of what the law provides for in Dominica.

    Point to ponder… This is what your Parliamentary representatives supposed to be focused on. Putting the legislative framework in place to govern the country. updating the laws so that criminals do not walk the streets. Instead .. they are out there handpicking persons who receive funds from the red clinic , the Small business unit , the alba housing program, etc etc etc ….

    We must demand more if we are to get more …..

    Regards

    • damien
      April 22, 2010

      couldn’t have said it better

      • Oh gosh
        April 23, 2010

        true dat

    • Jayson
      April 22, 2010

      That is exactly what is needed!

  46. No Name
    April 22, 2010

    People calm down. The criminals are wrong for breaking the law , how ever the judges or magistrate must follow the sentencing guide lines with in the boundaries of the law of Dominica.Tyani Behenzin should have follow the law in handing down the sentences. You can’t create your law base on your personal feelings and that’s what he did. I was in Dominica a few months ago and had the opportunity to listen to one of Tyani Behenzin case he clearly did not follow the sentencing guidelines and this was one of his case that was thrown out by the court of appeals.

    The people who commented on here bashing the courts of appeals for reversing Tyani Behenzin sentencing are not very well educated about the sentencing law in Dominica. The court of appeals did not write those laws they are interpriting the law base existing sentencing guidelines for each crime that was committed by some one in Dominica..

    No other country in this world will stand for what he did. The job was given to him base on political reasons we all know that. I am not in favor of the criminals in Dominica but the law is the law and no one should be above it. Not the magistrates or the criminals.

  47. Rev.Pastor Rawls
    April 22, 2010

    Greetings in the name of my Master,Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,There are to many People who don’t know about Human rights,first everybody has rights,just because a Man is a murderer doesn’t means He has no rights.(everyone has rights)
    There is nobody I dislike like a criminal,but at the same time they have rights,if a Man kill somebody and He is found guilty of second degree murder,He can’t be hang because they do not hang People for second degree murder,only first degree murder.So if a judge sentence Him to death He has grounds to appeal.
    So as much as We are upset with what is happening there is nothing We can do about it,thats why the Magistrate should have know better.(and I know He does)no one Man is above the law,there is not one law for poor People and one for rich People.
    Obama is the President of the USA,but He is not above the law,when Magistrate Behanzin sentence some one to five years in prison,when the law states that He should have only sentence Him to three years,He breaches the law,that Man has grounds for appeal.(and He will win His appeal)
    So to all those who are upset,they only have to be upset with Magistrate Behanzin ,He should have go according to the law and all those criminals would still be in prison where they belong,but I guess sooner or later they are going to commit more crimes and end up back where they belongs,in jail.May God keep giving Magistrate Behanzin the strength to overcome what He is going through.Love and best wishes to Him and His Family.Jah bless.website http://rawlinspacquette.weebly.com

    • No Name
      April 22, 2010

      Preach on pastor..

      The magistrate was in breach off the law. He did not follow the sentecing guidelines. How ignorant of some of those individual who commented to on here to ask if the court of appeals magistrates has the best interest of Domininca at hand. Its not the magistrates it is the law of the land. Get it people . Stop blaming t he magistrates. Blame the law. The PM said no law can prevent him from from running for elected office even though it was confirmed that he holds a french passport. Dominica is becoming a very lawless nation.

      • JAYJAYJAYJAY
        April 30, 2010

        Is it the PM alone in Government holding a foreign passport? I don’t think so. And anyway this has nothing to do with what is being discussed here. I too am a full supporter of Magistrate Behanzin, but if he overstepped his boundaries, then there are consequences. I know and believe his intentions are good, but there are rules and regulations that must be adhered to.
        To solve these problems, our laws needs to be revisited and restructured in order to prevent first time criminals/offender from repeating their crimes over and over again; and to deter anyone who intends on commiting any crimes against their fellow men, or the country on a whole.
        To Behanzin, continue the good work, but make sure that you are within the laws. But it has also been bugging me that if these criminals had committed those crimes against those so-called Lawyer and magistrates, what would be their punishment and how great. If someone can enlighten me, I believe there was one incident where a criminal had entered the house of a certain magistrate, what was the verdict of that case? If anyone remembers, I would just like to know, seriously, just curious.

    • Man, you may mean well, but do not bring God into this: If you are such a preacher, you might remember the Bible teaches, that we must obey the laws of the land, once you break the law, you are at the mercy of those who sit in judgment over you.

      For this reason the Bible advised Christians to settle their differences rather than taking it into court!

      So, all your talking about human rights and all that just wont cut it.

      Since you mention something about the United States, let me remind you of the ” three strikes law in Califorina), that is if you commit the same crime three times, and I am not talking murder here, you are going to jail for life.

      Example: in Santa Monica, approximately seven miles West of Los Angeles, a hungry, homeless man snatched a piece bread from a little boy, and ate it!

      He was arrested, charged, found guilty thief, and is now serving a life sentence for that crime.

      What do you have to say about his human rights here?

      While you are in sympathy with these Dominica outcast, the same one’s they set free may have already committed a crime since their release.

      Human rights what?

      • Joker in Harlem.
        April 22, 2010

        To Mr. Etienne,Once We remove God from anything thats where We are wrong,there are no three strikes in Dominica,Look at the schools in the USA,no God and see what is going on in them.

        • Ding
          April 22, 2010

          To Etienne,Look likes you are helping the magistrate to break the law,everyone has to obey the law.
          even Mr .Skerrit is not above the law.look like you don’t know to much about the Bible.the old Testament is about law,the new testament is about Salvation.
          The Rev. and Mr.Eric Cartman are right.

    • mention
      April 22, 2010

      pastor i understand ur point but right now what the government needs to do is restructure the criminal laws instead of making behanzin look like a fish out of water. i really think he do mean well and if we are to come back to the lovely country we once had the government has to change some of the laws so genuine ppl like behanzin that want to see the country run smooth would be at piece knowing he have alot more to work with now.the thing is government dont really look at the issues dat affects our island.i guess adjusting the laws will make them loose votes…behanzin is trying his best but he is handcuffed by the government and they really need to change thing for the man not to be in that embarrasssing situation again

      • Anonymous
        April 23, 2010

        I agree with you 100%,Praise the Lord,

        God bless you.

  48. Deoborah
    April 22, 2010

    Take time to discipline, train, guide and mentor your children, do not leave them to Behanzin to send them to jail for you. We are not in Iran or Iraq.

  49. Julien
    April 22, 2010

    LOCK THEM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY…. A man of the Law should apply the Law and any abuse of the law by and party is wrong it’s just sad that a man would abuse the same thing he swore to uphold and protect…. Judge behanzin is not diffirent than any of the criminals that passed infront of him…..
    He is the teacher thats talks but thinks of him self as above the law….. in the end he guilty of breaking the law.. the irony…

  50. Dominican
    April 22, 2010

    Crying shame! We actually need more magistrates like Magistrate Behanzin!!!

  51. Anonymous
    April 22, 2010

    but u guys saying some of them in prison 4 two years and Behanzin not there 4 so long wat are those guys saying? oh please

    • Anonymous
      April 23, 2010

      They were in prison on remand before the case was heard in his court…so it seems he added to their sentences although they had already spent time in Stockfarm…he was actually suppose to minus what they’ve already spent…get it?

  52. look crap
    April 22, 2010

    dat is real crap, the dam laws need to change, cause its obvious the old laws and sentences are no longer curbing crime…..
    we gonna end up like all the other developing countries cause the law has to many loop holes.
    murderers getting bail, sentences being reduced, right now for the right fee, any body will do a serious crime and kno they will be out soon.

  53. batacarib
    April 22, 2010

    The only thing depressing is being in this country, where there is no justice, where drug dealers, rapists and murderers are free to roam the streets with other law-abiding citizens.

    We finally got someone who is willing to see that justice is rightfully done and criminals are fairly punished. But instead of the lawyers and other magistartes supporting him, those money and power hungry people are trying to defame his character. They purposely want those criminals to get light sentences so their jail time will be minimum, so they will be back on the streets in little time committing more crime so they will have have more cases to represent and thus make more money.

    One day when the tables will turn and someone in their family will be the victim and then we will see their reaction.

    “99 days for the vole and 1 for the police.”

    Jah-Jah sees and knows!

  54. SHorty
    April 22, 2010

    “Arbitrary?????????????? what message are we sending to these frigging ppl who think they can batter, burglarize your place make you feel violated and get rich overnight. Do they live here or are they passing through.

    Hahahahaaa this is SO SICK. Do these people care about the well-being of Dominicans? Wake up my people

  55. Me Tory
    April 22, 2010

    Domnik fini bat!

  56. Mr. G.
    April 22, 2010

    No one respects the law anymore because a couple months in jail is a just a small restfull vacation. The criminals are not afraid to break the law. The risk is worth it. What is the goal of these magistrates justice, or good name. Keep these criminals separate from civilised society. Aren’t you concerned that their next victims may very well be your children.

    • sherlock holmes
      April 22, 2010

      what an interesting turn of events. its no longer the law after the criminals,
      but the criminals after the law!

      has the tables turned? has it?

      i believe. the time for using the law lightly against criminals has come and gone. it is about time we slapped those suckers with the maximum penality.

      too many a night a neighbour cries out because criminals are on the loose.

      enter and exist when they want and we sit there saying that the young magistrate is to harsh?

      have criminals ever one day gone soft on their victims?

      we are making excuses for lawlessness?

      i wonder what we will do when the criminals are knocking on our front door/ ( why use the back door when we are welcoming crime!)

      we live in such a hypocritical society. i would not be surprise if we are well dressed in the day and ninjas at night. now that is somthing to talk about….

      but lets wait- soon

      we go c!

  57. just reading
    April 22, 2010

    Way to go Behanzin, too many criminals out there. Dont make them depress you. Dominica need alot more like you and I hope when Dominica realise its not too late.

    • OPEN ALL YUH EYES
      April 22, 2010

      Why u ppl so stupid…if the man does not stick to the law the Justices of Appeal have no choice but to vacate the sentences and have the matters retried…he should listen to more experienced persons and ask for guidance before doing all that nonsense and now making DA look like a laughing stock among the rest of the Eastern Caribbean…he has a degree but does not have a legal practice qualification or any experience sitting on any bench and this is why this ish is happening…the same ppl that pull string and put him there because of his family ties now want him out because now they realizing the man’s lack of experience was a major factor to have been considered…all yuh too like to pull string in DA and what that burning me they still doing it…only when the string burst they complaining…

      • OPEN ALL YUH EYES
        April 22, 2010

        THINK OF IT THIS WAY…You think if he had ruled within the confines of the law those same criminals would be out now? NO THEY WOULD NOT…Tiyani (Robert) needs to do things properly…

  58. APPRECIATE FAIRNESS
    April 22, 2010

    It saddens me that my people just cannot seem to have an open discussion about anything regards of what that topic is.

    Is that what a democracy is as you all are quick to wash mouths on China and other countries who do not have the rights to practice democracy regardless of what?

    The Chief Magistrate and other people who are looking into the conduct of the Magistrate, not the Judge, is just excercising their right as citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica to do just that and question actions by someone in the judicial system, who may have abused their position, as far as the sentences that have been issued.

    Nobody, is saying that criminals should be allowed to run free or riot as some simplistic people have uttered is happening.

    However, we Dominicans cannot in one minute get on our high horses and shout out we live in “democracy” and as such from every sector of society there are ways and means to address and deal with issues, including in the judicial environment as well, according to the laws that have been set up and the various sections, etc, etc.

    Until these laws are amended in Parliarment, they should be adhered to in the same way and as such, whether one is disillusioned or upset with the number of crimes that occur and the frequency, again the time has to be in accordance with what has been set up by such laws and not one day over this.

    I wonder how would one feel if such was the case with a family member or close friend who was given a sentence, three or four times what the laws stipulates? It woud be interested to hear people’s honest answers and not their emotional outburst.

    We are want to curb crime in our beautiful gem but that is certainly no way to dish out penalties without sticking to the books, just because one believe as magistrate in DA they are “god supreme.”

    We say we live in a democracy so it is about time we start acting like it and not just want things to go way everytime and when they don’t, we begin to act like spoilt kids and make tantrums, as if we say we are in an evolved democracy then surely we would be happy for sentences to be given out but as long as one sticks always to the books and laws currently in place.

    Once Dominicans support someone, if they are behaving in a manner that they should not, instead of people sitting up and taking notice and realising this, they turn around and say, you supporting crime, just because you raise legitimate concerns. VERY SAD THAT DOMINICANS CANNOT SET THEIR PREFERENCES ASIDE AND SUPPORT SOMEONE WHEN THEY ARE WITHIN THE LAW BOUNDRIES AND PULL THEM UP AND REPRIMAND WHEN THEY FALL OFF TRACK!

    In other words ” as long as I like you and you kill someone, you still right and I don’t to hear a thing said about the matter.”

    How rediculously primitive is that behaviour……………….almost like sheep would behave without questioning or analysing matters.

    GOD HELP US ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kalinago
      April 22, 2010

      I could not have said it better.

    • Mentally Disturbed
      April 22, 2010

      Most of the folks talking bout lawlessness in DA don’t live there. They come here to DNO and assume the country is a lawless state of criminals. Ur very right, judges have to issue sentences based on the constitution, and if the laws of the constitution is too slack then that’s where the politicians come in to amend it. Imagine gettin caught with a spliff and the judge on a whim decides to send u up for 3 yrs. We need to look at both sides of this dilemna

    • Waitukubuli
      April 22, 2010

      I concur 110% –

  59. Young man in dominica
    April 22, 2010

    No dominicans wickid allu still supporting that man no no no dat is a record that man should not be a judge

    • 'Iron' Mike Tyson
      April 22, 2010

      You are chatting a bunch of crap and you know it. I can bet my next pay check that you have not yet experienced a serious crime commited against you or a member of your immideate family. That is why you feel that Tyani is overstepping, but the way Dominica is progressing you might not have to wait too much longer for one of these criminals to spoil your day…..have a good day.

      • JAYJAYJAYJAY
        April 30, 2010

        I suspect you a criminal. No offense here, but your short and to-the-point statement leaves a lot to wonder about.
        Go in peace!!!!!

  60. Yoland
    April 22, 2010

    We the decent law abiding citizens of Dominica (paradise) are ashamed to know that a set of Woman judges can come here and free so much DANGEROUS CRIMINALS on our streets after God sent Tyani Behenzin to get rid of such rotten characters causing so much trouble in paradise now those hypocrites set them free shame on those so called judges, go and clean all you crime filled country and leave tiyani alone we love him and we want him to punish those rotten dogs, the chief magistrate should be suspended. and those so called judges should be deported for supporting criminals. God is angry with you all But GOD bless tiyani Behanzin keep it up my brother don’t let them frustrate you,. we are all standing with you they are all on their way to hell.woman brought sin into this world today they want to take over the world. But God will destroy all you they just want the crime rate to escalate here to destroy our tourist industry because theirs full of crimes and those two foot monsters those lawyers greedy pigs for money cares nothing about decent people money is their God so they don’t care what criminals do all they worry about is money GOD COMING FOR ALL YOU.

  61. gwatance
    April 22, 2010

    Doh worry Tyani, we in possie standing strong behind you, is a plot those roseau people have against you, you are a douglas, keep your head up, doh let go; possie is quiet now because of you, right now people going to start to fraid again, is dat levi want for him to get case, but he will not get, he not effective, and he know dat; Tyani all the way

    • Homeboy
      April 23, 2010

      Stop talking ignorance. I am from Roseau and I support his actions. It is time to stop that fallacious reasoning about Possie and Roseau!

      Hasty Generalizations!!

      • JAYJAYJAYJAY
        April 30, 2010

        I am from Possie, you from Roseau, but I will say that I agree with you. This type of segregation business between these two places needs to be stopped once and for all. This s*** is uncalled for, afterall is aid and done WE ARE DOMINICANS.

  62. seepoom
    April 22, 2010

    Those so call judges have nothing to lose,because they do not live in Dominica.Let them continue to free theos criminals.The next level is vigilante justice..

    • Still looking
      April 22, 2010

      I see your point. It seems like victims and their families will begin taking the law into their own hands, since they can’t seem to get the justice due to them in what is becoming a lawless land.

    • Me Tory
      April 22, 2010

      You are right.

  63. lisad
    April 22, 2010

    Justice Ola Mae Edwards, you are a depressing woman.You all want to turn my beautiful country into a lawless land. God forbid.God is going to exalt magistrate Benhazin in due time. Watch and you will see.

    • Anonymous
      April 22, 2010

      True that, when the wrath of God start to manifest on the Land, intercessors stand your watch!!

  64. Eric Cartman
    April 22, 2010

    In one instance, Justice of Appeal, Honourable Ola Mae Edwards stated, “every step he (Magistrate Behanzin) made was the wrong step, it’s very depressing.”

    It’s only right that the people who were bashing the Chief Magistrate apologize now.

    • gwatance
      April 22, 2010

      Apologize to whom? …

      • Oh gosh
        April 23, 2010

        Why did she say that? This only further undermines the system and the magistrate. She could have been more discreet.

  65. Kalinago
    April 22, 2010

    Our laws in Dominica are simply too archaic. They were written when their was a friendlier more peaceful and tranquil Dominica. No more. Criminals are sprouting everywhere committing crimes our parents never even envisioned.

    Our laws need to be amended to reflect modern trends in criminality.

    Magistrate Behanzin means well but working with the laws presently on the books make his efforts practically worthless.

    • Sissoreau
      April 22, 2010

      The current sentencing laws in D/a may be archaic for the type of crimes that the country has to deal with. However, it is the duty and responsibility of the magistrate, who was sworn in as an officer of the court, to uphold all laws of the country. While he might be well intentioned his actions are misguided. He should work with the Bar Association and the Attorney General’s office to develop sentencing guidelines that would be appropriate for the types of crimes that are currently being committed.

      • Up or down, what you think?
        April 23, 2010

        read you comment again, your last part contradics the first.

    • Dominica's Future
      April 23, 2010

      I agree! Something is obviously wrong with the system!!!

  66. Don't You Wish?
    April 22, 2010

    Madam Ola Mae Edwards, the only thing that is depressing is that A CHIEF MAGISTRATE AND HER BANDWAGON …, can take this Lay Magistrate before you all, to appeal sentences, and the worse thing is that you all are actually listening and agreeing with them. BEHANZIN SHOULD APPEAL THE MATTER WHERE THE SEXUAL DEVIANT GOT 3 MONTHS FOR MOLESTING THE 15 YR OLD.

    The justice system in Dominica SUCKS. I am praying for you Sir Behanzin, and also for the Chief Magistrate that her eyes ears and mind will be opened, God forbid, that something has to happen to her and her family for her to see what the poor victims may be feeling today to be victimised by the attacker, victimised in court, and still victimised again in the COURT OF APPEAL. This is what is truly depressing!

    • mama
      April 22, 2010

      i agree with you…what nonsense is that……is like dominica have no law???peopl;e just doing what they want and them judges self just like them……chupes…if is me that was Behanzin I owuld pack up and leave dem pple place and go where my services are most appreciated……Dominica not yet ready

      • Anonymous
        April 22, 2010

        U THINK HE WOULD BE IN DA IF HE SERVICES WERE APPRECIATED ELSEWHERE…THINK ABOUT IT!!!

    • alasss..
      April 22, 2010

      WHO IN THE KITCHEN ARE THE ONES FEELING THE HEAT…….

      for my part, best they just throw out the constitution….cuz right nw its operated by money….

      time will tell….

  67. Mzs.Hughes
    April 22, 2010

    CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHATS HAPPENING

    • The next level
      April 22, 2010

      We in the next level watch your compuss it will tell you if it pointing up or down.

      • Shush
        April 23, 2010

        Shut up, everything cannot be politics. Grow UP!

        • labourrrrrr power 2
          April 23, 2010

          SHUSH I AGREE WITH YOU THIS HAS NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WIH POLITICS SO HUSH YOUR ***

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