Law firm threatens legal action over visiting requirements at Her Majesty’s Prison

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A law firm is planning to sue the Superintendent of Prisons, Albert Wade, over the right to see its clients without having to fill out appointment forms.
Daniels, Phillips and Associates threatened such action on August 21 in a letter written to Wade on behalf of two of its clients.
One of the firm’s attorneys, Warren Cassell, told OBSERVER media that Wade did not respond to the correspondence, including the August 28 deadline stated in the letter.
Cassell added that when he went on August 29 to see the two clients in question, he was told that he could only see one of them because the other prisoner’s case had ended with a conviction.
He reiterated that the prison’s policy is a blatant disregard for the right of prisoners to consult with their lawyers.
According to the attorney, there are no requirements in law for such forms and suggested that they seem more appropriate for family members and friends wanting to visit prisoners.
Cassell also said that his firm will work towards filing the lawsuit this week.
Meanwhile, veteran attorney at law, Ralph Francis believes that the Antigua and Barbuda Bar Association should push to get the policy changed rather than individual attorneys seeking to do so.
Francis said that while he adheres to the prison policy he finds it annoying and unnecessary.
He also said that he understands somewhat why it was imposed.
“I believe it is unconstitutional, but we will try and see how we can work with the prison authorities to sort this problem out. And, if in fact, the prison authorities having done their legal research, and they are of the view that they are right, then I think it would have to go before the court at that stage,” Francis said.

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