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Jul 28, 2011

Conflict of Interest when police prosecute police

Jimmy Gurule

And while the report card on the joint patrols in the Chiquibul show that a lot needs to be done to solve environmental issues and prevent poachers, the report card on another sector is also pointing out some weaknesses. A recent report about the performance of prosecutors in Belize showed failures in proper education of police and civilian prosecutors. High remarks were made about the educational background of prosecutors at the Supreme Court level. The American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) sponsored the research which resulted in the publication of the Prosecutorial Reform Index (PRI).  During consultations with attorneys, judges, police officers, and the media, professor of criminal law, Jimmy Gurule, was also briefed about conflict of interest in prosecution of cases involving police officers, as well as about alleged strained relations between the police and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Jimmy Gurule, Professor of Criminal Law

“There were some respondents, some people I interviewed that expressed some concern about strained relations at times between those two offices. On the other hand there were witnesses that said those issues seem to be resolved or seem to be working more closely together. But there is no question that a successful prosecutorial system requires a strong and positive working relationship between the police department and the prosecutor’s office. The other concern is the role of police prosecutor and the potential conflict of interest. So you have a police prosecutor that is being compensated by the police department, he is being promoted by the police department, he has close relations with police investigators, police officers and that relationship may influence the police prosecutor’s decision with respect to continuing the prosecution and perhaps not seeking the dismissal of the case or seeking the exclusion of evidence when the police prosecutor believes that the evidence was improperly obtained. So there needs to be a greater separation between police prosecutors and the police department. There needs to be greater independence with respect to police prosecution.”

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2 Responses for “Conflict of Interest when police prosecute police”

  1. CEO says:

    Really! Like my kid would say Ah Dah! Did we really need an American professor to come and tell us this? The common Belizean man, woman or child (above age 12) on Belizean streets know all this, they just don’t know how to summarize it in a report and can’t say it using fancy words. They also do not have the money or the influence to do anything about it.

    The leaders are the ones that always seem to miss all that is happening and they are the ones with the money the influence and the fancy words to explain it.

    What is even more sad is the current government seems to lack the were-with-all and the last crowd did nothing about stopping it before it got this bad under their watch. The people are suffering and they have no where to turn!

  2. belizeanpride says:

    yap you got it right CEO

    we all know the crap they do police investigating police but our question is what should we do Belizeans? to whom should we run to for assistance when all dep. are mostly corruption you find from top to bottom.

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