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Mar 1, 2016

Assistant ComPol Chester Williams Comments on Conviction Rate

Jackson is only one of many persons who have been charged for murder and then acquitted. While the conviction rate in Belize is not a matter of public record, the reality is that it is far more common to see somebody walk free from murder than it is to see a conviction. Assistant Commissioner of Police Chester Williams is a trained attorney so straddles the bar of law enforcement and prosecution. We asked him for a qualified opinion on the hindrances to getting convictions for murder.

 

ACP Chester Williams, Commander, Eastern Division South

“As a Police officer and as an officer of the Court I would state that the Police duty is to investigate and arrest. The DPP’s office is responsible for prosecution and the Court is responsible for determining the guilt or innocence of an accused person. Oftentimes when a person walks free or is acquitted it is not the fault of the Police or the DPP’s Office or the judiciary but on the part of those persons who are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the wheels of justice spin freely, and that is the citizenry who refuse to go to Court and testify, and for good reasons. The DPP cannot present a case before the Court without witnesses, or a good witness. You would know that as well. In terms of the conviction rate I do not want to venture down that road because there are several factors that must be taken into consideration when we discuss the conviction rate. People oftentimes want to blame the DPP or the Police but it goes beyond the Police and the DPP at times.”

 

Reporter

“Sir…can we ask your opinion on a memo that came out last year? I think it was Deputy Commissioner Blackett who was advising Police Officers that there was no need to consult the DPP or the Office of the DPP before laying charges on persons believed to be guilty. Before that point the DPPs Office had been collaborating closely with the Police in laying charges. Do you feel that the policy of not consulting with the DPP’s office has worked?”

 

ACP Chester Williams

ACP Chester Williams

“I personally am not aware of that memo. I can tell you and you can go and crosscheck with the DPP if you want…even though I am an attorney I consult with the DPP on many issues. I just spoke to her this morning before you arrived on an issue. Myself and the DPP have a very cordial and respectful relationship. We communicate every so often when the need arises. I don’t know about the memo. I have not seen it. I don’t know if it happened before I came. I don’t know. But like I said I have a respectful relationship with the DPP. Her office is one that is constitutionally created. She has certain responsibilities as the DPP and as an officer of the Court I respect her constitutional duties and authority and I am not going to do anything to circumvent those responsibilities.”

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1 Response for “Assistant ComPol Chester Williams Comments on Conviction Rate”

  1. test says:

    I wonder how much money is invested into the Ministry of National Security. That money can be used to acquire skills and equipment that has evidence speak for itself. We should long be past the days of hearsay as evidence. We should have a strong Forensic Unit.

    But they try to use Police and BDF as reform schools for dropouts and gang bangers. All you are doing is giving these people a license to use a firearm. Most of those officers are the ones committing crimes and getting involved in rackets with known drug pushers and drug dealers.

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