Be responsible

Be responsible

DPP encourages entertainment fraternity

Observer senior reporter

Sunday, December 30, 2018

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Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has issued a stern warning to the members of the local entertainment fraternity to be mindful of their actions, as if they operate counter to the law, her office will have no choice but to prosecute.

Speaking at the launch of Rebel Salute, the two-day reggae festival set for Grizzly's Plantation Cove in St Ann on January 18 and 19, the DPP set her comments against a number of high-profiled cases involving entertainers which have come before the courts. Among the artistes who have made headlines are Vybz Kartel, Ninjaman, Capleton, Tommy Lee, and George Nooks, as well as the recent release of deejay Buju Banton from prison in the United States where he served a 10-year sentence on drug-related charges.

“I'm a prosecutor by day and night, but as a human being I love to dance, I love music. My first interface with a musician and the criminal law came, when as a young prosecutor I was assigned to prosecute the Night Nurse man himself, Gregory Isaacs. Here it was as a young Crown Counsel and on my list of cases for the week I saw the name Gregory Isaacs. But I love his music, When he entered the courtroom I saw the aura of this very talented musician and in the split screen that we have to have as prosecutors, one side said: 'Oh my goodness. He's so cool, the way he walks , the way he talks'. The other side said: ' This is the evidence, this is what the statement is saying, this is what the witnesses are going to be saying, this is the case that I have to project'. The jury came back and he was found not guilty, but I will never forget it because not withstanding that I continue to enjoy his music to this day.”

“We are just lowly prosecutors. Our job is to present the best evidence available, the witnesses give the evidence and then the judge sums up on the law and the jury listening and observing will then come to their verdict. It can be guilty or it can be not guilty,” she added.

Llewellyn charged the artistes and entertainers to consider the great power and responsibility that comes with their positions of influence. She encouraged the fraternity to allow itself to be mentored by people who will help to make the right choices, as awesome talent cannot save an artiste who runs contrary to the law.

“I say to you with great power comes responsibility. You have to be responsible for the choices that you make. The fact that I may be the first one to dance to your music, to enjoy it, to pay money to see you sing or perform does not mean that if you make the wrong choice and you go contrary to the law then we will become part of the bly culture that says I see no evil, I hear no evil and I speak no evil. We have to do our job. As a prosecutor I have a greater duty to be fair, so if there is insufficient evidence to prove a case beyond reasonable doubt then I must be the first to stop the case, but if there is sufficient material you may feel that you may want to throw the arrows at my back ... my back has to be broad to do my job and duty,” said Llewellyn.

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