Lawyers cannot Play Role of the Police

  • 9-11-2015

The issue of punishing lawyers for not reporting on their clients about “suspicious transactions” in my view is extremely ill advised and draconian. Most lawyers so far seem to focus on the client attorney privilege issue.

 

It would appear that if criminals elude the police then lawyers are required to fulfill a role where the police have failed. Lawyers are not police officers, we didn’t go to police academy and so it is the duty of the police to hunt down criminals. If for example someone is involved in the drug trade and is able to have their funds deposited in a financial institution and later uses those funds to purchase a property, how can it be the lawyers duty to investigate that individual? If the police were not able to nab that individual and the bank did not realize that the customer was involved in the drug trade, it would simply mean that the police did not do their job and possibly the bank didn’t do its due diligence. So why should the lawyer be required to do what the police failed to do? The buck ought not to rest with lawyers.

 

The point is law enforcement is the role of police officers and so if they allow a criminal to slip through their net then lawyers shouldn’t be forced to pick up where they have failed.

 

If the category now includes lawyers, why not widen it much more to include parents, spouses, neighbours, children, pastors or even co-workers? Usually these are the ones who would interact on a more intimate level with these individuals and should be better able to provide police with information.

 

Based on the level of trust citizens have for police we would now be going into another matter as with our  “informa fi dead” culture no one is prepared to go into a witness protection programme, which in the view of many is just a figment of the imagination for us in Jamaica.


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