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There are many paragons of virtue who have recently assumed the moral authority to make judgments and pronouncements on matters of public interest. Their pronouncements even find persons guilty in the court of public opinion. In some instances, these pronouncements are related to matters that are before the court and fly in the face of the maxim that an accused person is presumed to be innocent until found guilty. It may even be argued that some of these pronouncements may be in contempt of court, since the matters referred to may be before the courts and should not be the subject of public comment. The Rules of the Court actually provide for the prohibition of public comment on matters before the court, in an effort to avoid prejudice from influencing the proceedings and decisions of the court. This, however, seems to be observed in the breach and the argument of fair comment, in relation to public officials, is proffered as the justification for allowing such public comment.
This culture seems to have been normalised through the conduct of the political leaders and others in our society. The political leaders are among the main perpetrators of such conduct, if not the main perpetrators. That the media is also guilty of this practice makes it even worse, since the media, as the fourth estate, should be striving for the unearthing of truth and making those in authority accountable for what they say and do, rather than condoning, facilitating and practicing irresponsible and even malicious conduct in the public domain.
In some regards, the society at large and the judiciary, in particular, have to be held responsible for this development, since it is within their purview as litigants and protector of law and order, respectively, to arrest the situation. However, this cancer seems to have seeped into the moral fabric of the society, to the extent that all are consumed, and affected, by it. Individualism, the thirst for power and the subjugation of morality seem to trump all other societal denominators and have triumphed. This is most evident in the conduct of our law enforcement and prosecutorial offices, which on the same matters assume different postures quite coincidental to regime change. This may in fact be associated with the politicization of the law enforcement and prosecutorial processes.
How else can the case of the State vs. Nandalall be explained? He is charged. A prima facie case is established in the Magistrate Court. The High Court upheld that decision but coincidental to regime change (a change of government), the same law enforcement and prosecutorial actors, who laid the charges and were prosecuting the case, withdrew the case. The Patterson matter, in principle, is no different. He is investigated by SOCU. He is cleared of any wrongdoing but with the change of Government charges are instituted for the same allegation from which he was previously cleared.
Village Voice News holds no brief for anyone, in these matters, suffice it to say that without prejudice to the truth of these matters, the manner of their conduct raises serious questions about transparency (the uniform application of principles in the same circumstances).
Whither to our morality, conscience, laws and organs, which are intended to insulate such things from interference, corruption and decimation?