Premier: ‘I Have Every Confidence In Sen Baron’

March 21, 2015

Jeff BaronFollowing the recent Court ruling which saw a defendant acquitted of charges of assaulting Senator Jeff Baron, Premier Michael Dunkley said he has “every confidence in Senator Baron’s abilities to conduct his duties.”

In August 2014 there was an incident in the parking lot at the Swizzle Inn in Hamilton parish, with the Senator apparently intervening, and Victor Johnston being arrested and charged with four counts.

Earlier this week, Magistrate Archie Warner ruled that Mr Johnston was to be acquitted on all four counts, and in commenting on the case, the Magistrate said that Senator Baron had bypassed a Swizzle Inn security guard who was handling the situation.

Premier Michael Dunkley said, “The Magistrate acquitted the defendant. In our system of criminal justice accused persons receive fair trials and the courts assess evidence and decide cases in accordance with the law. That is one of Bermuda’s strengths as a jurisdiction.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious public safety issue and this too was rightly recognized by the Magistrate in his ruling. The facts of this case have been the subject of court proceedings and a determination by a Magistrate and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the case.

“Senator Baron brings a genuine desire to work on behalf of all Bermudians. His service in the Senate and in our community and his energy and commitment is an attribute to public service. I have every confidence in Senator Baron’s abilities to conduct his duties.”

Sen. Baron serves as Junior Minister of National Security & Legal Affairs and Special Advisor to the Premier.

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Comments (59)

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  1. X says:

    This acquittal makes an absolute nonsense of the justice system. Sen Baron was trying to help this man and his family and had public safety in mind. There is no question in the reports that this man was not drunk, and he was in the car, having turned the ignition, so he should have been done for DUI.

    The rest is a discussion of who pushed who, which is a moot point.

    The Swizzle and their security should not have let this man leave with the intention of driving. I would have done the same thing – I can just imagine the security guy watching the whole thing unfold; he should be ashamed of himself

    • sebring says:

      I believe the judge said the senator should have contacted the police and provided the information!
      I agree, what is the point of having laws if all people reacted like this!
      I would think in Bermuda nothing less than a blood Bath!

      some one should ask Senator Baron What he was thinking? with out he twist and were did he place his actions within the laws of Bermuda?

      • Creamy says:

        Under the law, anyone has a right to use reasonable force to prevent a crime being committed.
        The magistrate ignored that.
        So now, if anyone breaks into your house, you can’t stop them.
        If a drunk attacks your wife, you can’t stop it.
        If a drunk attempts to drive away in a car, you can’t stop it.
        Someone tris to snatch a baby in the street, you can’t stop it.
        You ignore it.

        • sebring says:

          since when is getting into a car in private property with your family a crime ?

      • jt says:

        If the police had been called at the outset I have to wonder if the driver might have been ‘delayed’ in a manner less likely to escalate the situation until they arrived…which should have included the involvement of security. The senator is an ex-cop and should have some experience in dealing with intoxicated individuals in ways that prevent escalation of emotions.

        • Black Soil says:

          I want to thank the courts for making a joke out of this situation. Party at the Swizzle till you drop!!!!!

        • Griz says:

          Ex-cop.. You said it. He should have let the police handle it

      • X says:

        Can you explain the last sentence – doesn’t quite make sense, but think it may be a typo.

        By the way, I just think Baron was concerned for the safety of the driver and family and felt urgency was the answer. Of course he should have called the police, but by removing the keys first he may have felt prevented the guy from causing injury or worse.

        My main cause of concern is that the driver has been acquitted of DUI and refusing to give a breath test. The police know it was his car and he had every intention of driving it.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          ** My main cause of concern is that the driver has been acquitted of DUI and refusing to give a breath test.**

          This part is very curious.

          If he refused a breath test , well , he refused it .Otherwise he’d be reported as passing it or failing it.

          The law says that if you refuse a breath test under suspicion of DUI you’re treated the same way as taking the test and failing it .

          So , how can he be acquitted of refusing to take a test that he never passed of failed ?

          The only legal way out of that is that he was never asked to submit to one which is at the crux of this entire mess. So who messed up ?

          • Jack straw says:

            Refusing a breath test is an automatic year off the road, plus fine.

        • sebring says:

          my point is as an ex police man he should know that no where in Bermudian law does it state to take the law into your own hands. further more reaching inside and removing the keys is no different than reaching inside any one’s bed room window and removing a lap top per say.

      • WhistleBlower says:

        He is detailed security folks can you NOT see??????? He is the bodyguard!!!!!!! Find the Premier = find the “senator”!!!!!!!!

    • smh says:

      What AMAZES me is how everyone assumes he was drunk! Firstly there was no breathalyser taken and secondly if you actually followed the case, it was revealed that the man had a previous medical condition which made him not walk straight!

      Baron was wrong, plain and simple! Ex cop doesn’t give you the right to be a vigilante!

      • jt says:

        Was it ever revealed why no breath test was administered?
        Did he refuse?

        • Law 101 says:

          There was no breath test because by time the police showed up, there was no grounds to test for alcohol. He was not in possession of the keys, nor was he behind the wheel. Also, because I perceive someone to be drunk does not mean they are. One could have said Mr. Baron was also drunk…getting in a fight sounds like drunk behavior. This is why vigilante justice does not work At the end of the day under the law Baron overstepped. The law is clear. Perhaps his intent was good but ultimately he overstepped the law and then tried to file an assault charge to cover it up.

          • Toodle-oo says:

            *There was no breath test because by time the police showed up, there was no grounds to test for alcohol. He was not in possession of the keys, nor was he behind the wheel*

            If no breath test was administered how was it that he was acquitted of refusing to take the test , when , in the first case , you have to be charged/accused of something to be acquitted ?

            Like I said , this is all very curious .

    • mj says:

      @X—-your comments make me grateful that you are not a judge..Facts are facts, The senator is not a cop and acted hastily exasberating the situation, and the security guard came on the radio after the incident and told his side of the story which is in line with the judgment as he did have everything under control,.Had Senator Baron not underestimated the Swizzle management and staff in their duty, and co operated instead, he would not have found himself wasting court time with the charges.

      • X says:

        See my reply above …
        My main cause of concern is that the driver has been acquitted of DUI and refusing to give a breath test. The security/Swizzle and the police know it was his car and he had every intention of driving it.

        I don’t think Baron had underestimated Swizzle management at all, I think he was concerned that they had not already intervened. Surely they would have noticed his manner as he was leaving.

        Perhaps this might be a lesson to more bars and restaurants to keep a ‘weather eye’ on their clients. Someone has to take responsibility on the actions of people drunk driving – it is endemic here

    • Kunta says:

      Ya boy is in the wrong business, he should be on the G.Q, magazine.

  2. Future Alliance says:

    Senator Baron is a very handsome man

    So I have confidence in him too. Leave him alone bloggers!

    • Varied says:

      Wait, so you’re suggesting that his appearance makes a difference?

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Good God , get a sense of humor will you .

        • Varied says:

          Good God, try to contribute something useful in the comments section.

  3. Onion says:

    If it had been an anonymous former police officer the support for preventing drunk driving and saving lives would have been 100%.

    Some people will hate anything just to hate.

  4. Quo vadis says:

    Watch out, Baron! Dunkley had ‘every confidence’ in Cannonier before showing him the door.

    • Onion says:

      Get real. Cannonier shoved himself out the door by getting on that jet.

      • Joe Public says:

        Wrong Cannonier making $140,000 plus as a Minister now. That’s more then what your daddy and mother make combined. So who has the last laugh. Join the oba we take care of our own. :)

        • “Join the oba we take care of our own.” I guess one can say the exact same thing about Bermudas former Government, the Progressive Labour Party whilst they’d ruled?

          • drunkenUrsula says:

            Ray take a break….OBA are the PLP in reverse….Jeff should be at the country club stopping those Old Boys Assoc…members from driving drunk

          • Facts over Political hats!! says:

            Raymond looks like the OBA Friends and Family Plan in full swing….

          • Facts over Political hats!! says:

            To allow this, is an indication that Dunkley except bad political tricky behaviors within his party.

          • WOW!!! Joe Public, they certainly came out to support you :-(
            Where are the P.L.P. “diehards” when it’s proven that they’re wrong? Right, they stay quite. Sad yes but true.

          • Self says:

            So that makes it OK in your eyes?

        • WhistleBlower says:

          How could you be so Imature???
          Silly rabbit Trux are for KIDS!!!!!

  5. Triangle Drifter says:

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing. He should have called the police, who would have probably taken at least 15 minutes to arrive, meanwhile the driver, drunk or not, has gotten in his car & driven off anyway.

    Worst case scenario, the driver IS drunk, gets in a crash, maybe fatal, now the Senator, or whoever, gets blamed for not preventing the drunk from driving off.

  6. Not again !!! says:

    It’s frightening to know that you can do the right thing, and be punished for it :-(

    • mj says:

      Its more frightening when you THINK you are doing the right thing and you don’t !!There are proceedures in law that the senator should be well aware of as the magistrate pointed out! no harm no foul, the security guard had it under control before the accused left the parking lot and had he(Baron) cooperated with the Staff at the Swizzle who are capable of doing their job in the absence of the senator, the situation would not have escalated. It is frightening when so many of us base our opinion on belief and not fact.No ex-cop is entitled to take the law in their own hans usurping other persons responsibilities.

  7. That’s right… he could have done what the adverage person would have done, ie; – call police with a description and make of car or bike and time he seventeened…… but who is to say he( the driver), wouldn’t have harmed himself or other between a. And b. Anyone takes that enishiative… to that extent feel obvious necessity…. yes or no?

  8. nomoremoney says:

    ya, I think Warner makes some pretty bad rulings at times. This one seems a little odd, but who knows, unless you hear the testimony. I presume jeff was trying to do the right thing. I have done so myself a few times, and its tricky, and the police do not respond quickly. I also think the security should have taken the keys, or blocked the car from leaving, easy to do.

  9. Unbelievable says:

    What this judge and magistrate has done is set a precedent of sorts now. It’s saying that if someone stumbles out of a party or a bar, then maybe you can suggest to them to take a taxi or hand over the keys but you can’t stop them from leaving and driving a vehicle.

    I think that is pretty dangerous.

  10. Ann says:

    I applaud Senator Baron for doing something, there were children involved? This case seemed to be dealt with rather quickly for Bermuda, I am now waiting to read what will be the conclusion for the afternoon accident at the squash club in Devonshire not long ago, or will that be pushed under a carpet?

  11. Forethebest says:

    In “The Theatre” the expression is “Padding Your Part” and it would appear that Sen. Baron has done that. As a Senator and Junior Minister of National Security & Legal Affairs, he is not a policeman nor has he been contracted as a security consultant/officer. It would appear that somehow Sen. Baron was influenced whilst in The Swizzle Inn to overstep his authority. I suggest that he will not do that again and perhaps others who might, will learn the lesson the easy way. In that Sen. Baron had a concern, his sole responsibility was to report his concern to the police and/or a security officer. We should all accept that responsibility as citizens.

    • James Rego says:

      I was driving behind a drunk ( woman driver) from White Hill, all the way to South Roundabout in Paget. I first called the Police near Port Royal giving the operator the car number and pointed out that a patrol car had just passed me going in the opposite direction. This driver and myself parted ways at the roundabout with the driver heading into Hamilton. There was no quick response from Police on this day.

      I applaud Jeff Baron’s action, he may have saved my life or someone I know.

  12. Jus' Askin' says:

    Where do We go from here? ;-)
    People taking the law in their own hands will lead to some bad things.

  13. Rockfish#1 and #2 says:

    Whether or not Baron did the right thing is a matter of opinion, the court made its ruling. Case closed!

    What concerns me is his stated contempt of our laws! This from a Senator and Advisor to the Premier is nothing short of outrageous.

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      Also, don’t forget that a very “unpredictable” judge made that decision!! Everyone knows that Warner is all over-the-place, when it comes to making “logical” judicial decisions!! Look at his history over the years!!

  14. Ace girl says:

    The court ruling leaves much to be desired. On a smal island you are guilty before you are proven innocent!! Senator Baron was no exception. I have my own thoughts on Senator Baron, but I honestly believe he acted in what he felt were the best interests of the family. You do not put yourself in this predicament, especially in Bermuda, unless you feel there is reason to. I would imagine many people will feel the same in this regard after this verdict. One minute it is look our for your neighbour, next minute it is vigilantism. If we only knew the game plan, we could stick to it.

  15. watchfuleyes says:

    Wow that makes sense- to have confidence in someone because of how he looks?? Listen he uses poor judgment according to most people, including a judge, so get over yourselves people, you can’t make right out of wrong! Nothing but grand standing and trying to make himself a hero, which back fired royally

  16. Concerned Citizen says:

    Smh

  17. Concerned Citizen says:

    Bad behaviour starts at the top

  18. Tree Hugger says:

    Leave the Senator alone, he was at a Bar to watch the news and canvass constituents and meet new people for the next election.

    A few things led to another and the case is closed, he tried to help a situation.

    Furthermore, be happy such a good looking senior guy has our interests at heart, he could be working at the UN or some other high profile opportunity internationally, but he chose to stay here and help build a better Bermuda.

  19. WhistleBlower says:

    He is the ‘mikmans’ head of security folks can you NOT SEE??? This * is getting PAID TO BE A BODYGUARD!!!
    I wish you could see clearly folks. Jr. Was ATTEMPTING to IMPRESS big Papa!!!!!

    No one even CARES this little wanna be is being PAID for SECURITY!!!!!
    Some SCUFFED at ex-Premier Brown’s need and use of such but HIDDEN in the details are little BARONS secret!!!
    SPECIAL ADViSOR to the PREMIER = SECURITY dude is ranking in several CHECKS folks!!!!!!!
    The joke is on us!! That’s how he can AFFORD to do the Wayne Caines look!!!!

  20. MAKE MY DAY says:

    Mr. Dunkley – you might have every confidence (what else could you really say) but that Judge Warner certainly did not have the same confidence!!

  21. rhonda says:

    Who expected Batman to get rid of his sidekick Robin …. if you did fool you..