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Aug 17, 2006

D.P.P. and police at war over who?s boss

Story PictureThe police department is maintaining the right to stay silent tonight following reports that the Director of Public Prosecutions has ceased its practice of reviewing case files and recommending appropriate charges. Via telephone this afternoon, Commissioner Gerald Westby told News Five he is not prepared to make any statement or comment regarding relations with the office of the D.P.P. Director Kirk Anderson is out of the country on leave until the end of August, but tonight we understand that Anderson made the hard line decision after several of his recommendations were either ignored or altered by the police. According to Prosecutor Kamar Henry, the tradition of reviewing files is not mandatory. Under Section fifty of the Laws of Belize, the Office of the D.P.P. is charged with prosecuting cases but can issue directives to relevant agencies to charge or withdraw offences against accused persons. That all came to an end earlier this month when in two cases police went against the D.P.P.’s advice. One of those was the case against Ben Bou-Nahra. Apparently, the D.P.P. had recommended he be charged with the murder of Shawn Copius but when Bou-Nahra finally appeared before the Magistrate, it was to answer to a case of manslaughter. Henry says that the D.P.P.’s office can review as many as four hundred cases each month for the Police Department, with cases often consuming as much as three or four hours.

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