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Mar 29, 2018

Court Frowns on Dock Statements in Defense

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal

According to the D.P.P., other matters related to the case were also debated before the appellate court.

 

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions

“One of the issues that was argued was in relation to an accused person who remains in the safety of the dock and makes a statement rather than an accused who goes into the box and gives evidence be entitled to a direct action on his credibility.  We have always felt and we argued strenuously that if an accused person does not go into the stand and open himself up to cross examination as our witnesses do, that he should not be entitled to direction speaking about the fact that he has a good character and so he must be telling the truth.  And the court has confirmed that view and that is a major shift in the law in our jurisdiction.  The Court of Appeal had before touched on the issue in certain judgments but it was never definitively decided.  When the matter was remitted to the Court of Appeal, the Court of Appeal came down on the side of direction not being necessary and now the CCJ has confirmed that and that is now the law and we are exceedingly pleased with this development. We are also pleased that the CCJ did not see it fit to pronounce at this stage that the composition of the parole board is something that is offensive to the constitution and the court has of course urged that we proceed to promulgate the rules under which the parole board is meant to operate and we will be agitating for government to do that shortly.  These are all very important matters that will touch upon the sentencing of convicted persons coming forward.”

 

Gregory August and Alwin Gabb were defended by attorneys Eamon Courtenay and Iliana Swift.

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