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DPP says police investigators, prosecutors must collaborate early

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) — Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, says early collaboration between police investigators and prosecutors prior to taking a case to trial is critical.

This, the DPP said, will lessen the chance for even the most skillful of defence attorneys to find and exploit loopholes or for a guilty person to walk free.

Llewellyn, who was addressing the 33rd Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St James yesterday, added that her office is well within its rights to refrain from going forward with a case if the evidence is deemed insufficient and weak.

The DPP said she has seen many instances where the failure of early collaboration between the prosecution team and investigators allowed for cases to collapse before they even got started. “It helps if the prosecuting arm is consulted from very early,” she said.

She added that early collaboration makes for good in-depth investigations and where the evidence is such that perpetrators of serious crimes are often denied bail.

Llewellyn said whenever recommendations are made to the DPP's office; they are carefully studied before a determination is made as to whether a case should be prosecuted.

“Sometimes matters are referred to me in order to take action. However, if I do my research and I find that it is not the way to go, then under the constitution I can refrain from acting,” she explained.

The DPP also cautioned law-enforcement agencies about the need for better communication, noting that the criminals work in tandem with each other and are very meticulous in planning their criminal activities.

“We have to be very careful that we don't lag behind. In this age of technology… in this age where we have transnational crimes… collaboration and working together is the way to go,” she said.

Llewellyn said she is not the least bit perturbed by criticism, noting that as long as she is comfortable with the knowledge that the public good is being served, “then I have no problem with the criticisms”.

“We cannot allow ourselves to be detracted by the criticisms. We have to do things like protecting our witnesses. We have to follow leads and ensure evidence is not tainted or compromised,” she emphasised.

Delegates from the 25 ACCP member countries, other stakeholders and exhibitors from around the world are attending the conference, which ends on Friday.

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