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Apr 2, 2008

D.P.P. says low conviction rate is cops’ fault

Story PictureOn yesterday’s newscast we presented the issue of rising violent crime through the eyes of a street leader and the mother of a murder victim. Tonight we look at the problem from the perspective of Director of Public Prosecutions Lutchman Sooknandan, who says the failure to achieve more convictions can be laid directly at the feet of the Police Department.

Lutchman Sooknandan, Director of Public Prosecutions
“We can only be very, very good at prosecution if the calibre of investigation that the police do is of such a standard that we can successfully prosecute. The fact about prosecution is that you may have a case good on paper but then we have the other scenario. In some cases I have to send witnesses through this office to the police because the police forget or deliberately did not take a statement from a very vital witness. I’ve noticed that officers in charge of the various stations are oblivious to serious case files such as murder, kidnapping, rape.”

Marion Ali
“What do you attribute this to?”

Lutchman Sooknandan
“Because they pass the buck on to the rookies and younger people in the force and they have no input into these investigations. When you call them up and ask them what goes on, they do not know. So I had to—with the concurrence of the present Commissioner of Police—I had to send out a circular saying that all officers in charge of the various stations must read these case files and see that they’re in proper perspective as far as procedure and investigation is concerned and to write a letter, a covering letter and attach it to each case file and then send it to this office.”

Marion Ali
“Is that done?”

Lutchman Sooknandan
“That is now being complied with. But we need and I must emphasize this, we need a better forensic lab, better forensic lab. The time has come now, we are left behind if we do not pursue D.N.A. And strenuous effort must be made to assist because we cannot now solely depend on eyewitnesses.”

And while Sooknandan is calling for a D.N.A. lab, the present administration has already gone on record in their manifesto as promising to establish one. Sooknandan also took issue with the opinion of Raymond Gentle, saying that he believes the death penalty is a deterrent to murder.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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