iLocal News Archives

Peter Binose: Ralph E Gonsalves once again accused of sexual assault

1280px-ralph_gonsalves_croppedBy Peter Binose

Miranda Wood has made an allegation, Ralph Gonsalves has made a denial. We do not know if Wood is a known liar but we do know that Gonsalves is a known liar.

So we the people have to rely on what one or other of the parties says and make a decision of who to believe.

That is when a Jury and a Judge is required to listen to the oral [testimonial] evidence and the verbal denial and decide who is telling the truth and act appropriately.

This is not the matter of one woman crying rape whilst on a date. This is a stream of women claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Gonsalves. There is a similarity between almost every allegation. People say there is no smoke without fire. We the people want to know the truth without interference by the DPP. Perhaps all the cases should be brought at the same time and let a jury decide.

For Gonsalves to state that there is no tested evidence is utter nonsense. Admissible evidence, in a court of law, is any testimonial, documentary, or tangible evidence that may be introduced to a factfinder—usually a judge or jury—to establish or to bolster a point put forth by a party to the proceeding. For evidence to be admissible, it must be relevant, without being unfairly prejudicial, and it must have some indicia of reliability. The general rule in evidence is that all relevant evidence is admissible and all irrelevant evidence is inadmissible.

You will notice the relevancy of the word ‘testimonial’. One of the most common types of evidence during most trials is testimonial evidence, or testimony, which consists of statements that are made in court by witnesses and that are offered as proof of the matter asserted, or of what is being discussed.

It may seem obvious that there must be a legal concept of evidence that is distinguishable from the ordinary concept of evidence. After all, there are in law many special rules on what can or cannot be introduced as evidence in court, on how evidence is to be presented and the uses to which it may be put, on the strength or sufficiency of evidence needed to establish proof and so forth. But the law remains silent on some crucial matters. In resolving the factual disputes before the court, the jury or, at a bench trial, the judge has to rely on extra-legal principles.

In any criminal proceedings (other than committal proceedings) a certain section provides that a written statement is admissible in evidence to the same extent as oral evidence.

Evidence in a statement read in accordance with the provisions is not conclusive evidence. It is evidence only to the same extent as if the maker had given orally the evidence contained in the statement. (Lister v Quaife [1982] 75 Cr App R313).

The legal and judicial system may be well served by charges to be brought against Gonsalves by all those who claim he has sexually assaulted them. To see how that would work see the Rolf Harris case in the UK.

Rolf Harris an 83 year old famous TV celebrity in the UK and fine artist was accused of a string of sexual assault crimes against women and girls. Some of the allegations were in relation to happenings over 40 years ago. There was no physical evidence in any of the allegations, all the evidence was oral and he was convicted in London on oral evidence only.

There is no statute of limitation on murder or sex crimes in the UK the same is applicable to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. So if Rolf Harris could be prosecuted for crimes up to 40 years old on oral evidence only in the UK, so can Ralph E Gonsalves in SVG.

The problem we have in SVG is the Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP] who obviously already made his mind up a long time ago regarding the prosecution of Ralph E Gonsalves on alleged sex crimes.

The DPP has the sole right to decide if any case can go forward for prosecution. In the matter of the allegations against Gonsalves he made a statement to the LA Times online May 25, 2008
“Rape cases roil Caribbean island nation” “Critics say the quick dismissal of allegations against the prime minister shows an old boys’ network at work”.

In this article here is what Collin Williams the DPP said:

“Ralph is a victim of his personality. He has a very informal style,”
“Here they call him Huggingson Kissinger, because he’ll greet you with a hug and a kiss.”
He said “the five incidents to which women have sworn statements were either old or unsubstantiated by physical evidence”.
To the allegations of a 43-year-old woman who testified that she was raped by Gonsalves when she was an 18-year-old job applicant at his office, Williams bellowed with amusement, “That was more than 20 years ago, man!”

So we see the problem, the DPP will not proceed with the allegations because he says they are too old, which we now know cannot be a valid reason. Also that the allegations are unsubstantiated by physical evidence, we also now know that there is no need for physical evidence to be available, oral is acceptable. The DPP is a learned man and he knows the law as well or better than most. So for him to make those misleading comments must question his credibility and his intentions to upholding the law in the interest of Vincentian citizens who have called sexual assault, and not to be there as the protector of just one man.

Why has the DPP taken the stance he has taken, which is seen as him protecting Gonsalves from the courts and prosecution? Is it Gonsalves making the decision or the DPP?

Collin Williams the DPP, was chosen for the office of DPP by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. Colin Williams was a lawyer colleague of Gonsalves within the Gonslaves law chambers. Williams was a long term friend of Gonsalves. Williams was a member of the Central Committee of the Unity Labor Party. Gonsalves also made him Inspector of the Offshore Finance Authority and Inspector of St. Vincent Education. Gonsalves has favored the man and Williams has not stopped earning money from the State since Gonsalves was elected.

At the time when Williams was proposed to be appointed to the position of DPP the Bar Association objected to his appointment.

In 2012 Dr Kenneth John wrote one of his amazing opinions in the Vincentian Newspaper.
“In all the circumstances, the appointment of Colin Williams as acting D.P.P. of S.V.G. represents not just a slap in the face of our struggling, emergent democracy, but boldly tempts fate with a recipe for possible disaster! In our social affairs, the office of the D.P.P is serious business.”

Prosecuting Gonsalves on any charge whatsoever is an uphill struggle when you consider his stranglehold over the police, in appearance the DPP as well, and some think the Judiciary even as far up as the High Court Judges are believed under his control by some people. Only time will tell as they say, and the past sixteen years is time and they have in fact told us a lot.

JUNE 2014
Judicial independence is fundamental to every democracy, both as a guarantor of the separation of powers in the state and of the rule of law. It is the only check on an otherwise powerful government, when that government commands an overall majority in parliament and could, by its otherwise untrammelled law-making and executive power, put citizen liberty at risk. It ensures justice and equity through the predictability of court decisions that cannot be overruled by a political establishment. In practical terms, as recent studies have shown, it promotes economic development because investors feel more secure if they have access to an independent judiciary to resolve any disputes against the state 2 or against competitors favoured by the government. For defendants in criminal courts, it functions so to speak as David’s sling-shot, providing the possibility of acquittal against the state Goliath. For these reasons and more, it is the most precious of democratic principles but the least appreciated – especially by populist politicians – and, consequently, the most vulnerable. This paper surveys some recent problems: the difficulty of detecting and dealing with the judge who becomes a government lickspittle, the confusion associated with the arcane method of ‘impeachment’ and other methods for removing senior judiciary; the pressures on courts from cost-cutting in a time of austerity; and the limited remedies available domestically and internationally against governments that seek to bend judges to their will.

So back to the beginning what exactly is Gonsalves saying to us the citizens when he says “that in the absence of “tested” evidence he would not get involved in “sideshows”. Well I would interpret that as “unless you can prove you were there and witnessed it happening ‘piss off”.

If only there was some way of having Scotland Yard detectives to be able to question him and his accusers we could move forward. But with Vincentian police we know questioning him will never happen.


DISCLAIMER: The opinion, belief and viewpoint expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoint of iNews Cayman/ or official policies of iNews Cayman/

IMAGE: Kingstown (San Vicente y las Granadinas), Ralph Gonsalves



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *