Regional DPPs examine measures to prosecute organised crime

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Regional DPPs examine measures to prosecute organised crime

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Directors of Public Prosecutions (DPPs) from seventeen regional states came together at a recent conference in Miami to discuss some of the major challenges they face in prosecuting serious organised crime in the region.

The DPPs also explored ways of overcoming the changing manifestations of criminality.

Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Belize and the British Overseas Territories were all represented.

Conference delegates heard presentations from leading international experts in various areas of criminal law, including gang violence, social media evidence and leadership and management amongst other topics.

Organised by Criminal Justice Advisors in the region, the second annual conference included a keynote presentation by Claudette Thompson, Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in Jamaica.

Thompson gave insights as to prosecution of gang offences in Jamaica and the attendant challenges.

Her presentation detailed lessons learned in mounting viable prosecutions of such offences. She noted that the Jamaican legislation is new and that the courts have provided guidance, via rulings on various applications.

According to Thompson, Jamaican prosecutors, as a result of the rulings and comments from the bench, have identified lacunas in the law, amendments for proposal, evidential requirements, and hurdles that the prosecution must consider and in many cases overcome, in order to continue their respective cases.

She also gave suggestions on practical steps which can be taken to make a difference in the investigation and prosecution of gang activities.

Speaking against the backdrop of the conference, funded by the British Government's Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, British High Commissioner Asif Ahmad noted that with a common legal heritage, we have much to share in Caribbean.

“The DPP Conference is an excellent opportunity to bring together the experience and talent in the region. Stronger prosecutors and institutions are essential as we fight serious and organised crime,” said Ahmad.

Arthur Hall

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