DPP discusses nolle prosequi on Open Your Eyes
There is public outcry at the low rate of convictions in criminal cases. Far too many cases end with the now familiar nolle pros or fall apart when witnesses are too scared to testify. But what is the state of relations between the office of the DPP and the Police Department? That’s an issue that came up when the Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl Lyn Vidal made a guest appearance on Open Your Eyes earlier this week. The DPP says that proper coordination is required between the two.
“How would you describe the current relationship with the police department at this point in time?”
Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions
“I would just say that it’s not what it should be; there are many reasons for that but we are working on it improving. People want to see, we all want to see, somebody being arrested and charged when a crime has been committed. And sometimes the police want to answer that cry in circumstances when they don’t have enough to answer it. At the outset, if they seek advice from us and we tell them “you can’t go ahead with this right now?” you have to go out there, you have to investigate further, then they’re not in a position to answer the cry of the public and the public at that point is going to blame the police.”
“But how do you fix the situation that we are faced with in terms the Nolle Pros?”
“You asked how we can fix it, if there was a simple answer to that then we wouldn’t be in the position we are now. But there are things that we can do and I spoke about the relationship with the police department and that’s one thing that we have to work on so that in every major investigation the police and the DPP’s office work hand in hand. We also have to ensure that the police gets sufficient training so that when they’re investigating, apart from the fact that we’ll be advising them, they know what it is they’re suppose to do; and they go out there and they do it with the passion that we want them to do to. Apart from increasing the staff we have to restructure the office so that it operates more like firm because that is the only way it will become more efficient we don’t have separate persons at the office who deal with files for instance, it is the same prosecutors from court who then have to back to the office and work on files. We don’t have separate person who are helping with research, it is the same prosecutors who do the research when we are in trial. So, we have to restructure the office so that we can create more posts; so that we can have people who specialize in different areas, so that everybody gets the support that is needed. Apart from that I think that changes have to be made in the way that matters are taken before the court.”