JIS News

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, is calling on witnesses to come forward with their statements, rather than questioning what the authorities are doing to solve a case.
“You cannot try a case without witnesses, so if you are going to jump up and down before a television camera and ask what the police is doing and yet you in your community know who the offender is, you know the offender’s family and you refuse to give a statement, what can the police do?” she questioned, at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on July 16.
She argued that even if the police act on reasonable suspicion and arrest an individual, that person cannot be charged.
“They cannot charge the person for murder unless they have a statement from someone, who is prepared to say I saw, or if it’s a circumstantial evidence case, sufficient statements from which the clear inference can be drawn that this is the accused who committed the offence. So whichever way you take it, you have to go back to witnesses who are prepared to come forward and give evidence,” the DPP emphasized.
According to Miss Llewellyn, witnesses who are afraid should contact a police officer or the Commissioner of Police.
“If it is that they are afraid, find a way to get in touch with the particular police officer, or if it is that they do not trust the officer, find a way to get the information to the Commissioner of Police, who may or may not assign somebody else who would inspire more trust to deal with the matter,” she explained, adding that a number of factors must work together for the disposal of a case.
“In order for one case to be disposed of, you need to have a variety of factors working together. You must have the judge, the prosecutor, the defence attorney, the accused, the witnesses and if you are in the High Court, you must have the jurors. If one person within that equation is not present, you have to put off the case, because you cannot put the accused man, who is innocent until proven guilty, in a situation where he will get a trial that is not fair,” the DPP pointed out.
According to Miss Llewellyn, workers at the Office of the DPP have to be “fearless but fair, irrespective of your antecedent,” but regardless, it is the evidence that would speak.
“It is the evidence that is going to speak and the credibility of the witnesses [that matter]. The fact is that unless you have witnesses who believe, even though they may be intimidated, that the best thing to do is to give the evidence, unless you have witnesses who are prepared to give the evidence, with all the safeguards that you put in place, with all the legislation, a case cannot try itself,” the DPP explained.
She noted that even with DNA and forensic evidence, witnesses are still needed. “If you are using forensic or DNA evidence you still need to have a witness to be able to identify, for example, the cap that was found on the deceased which the forensic analyst says has DNA, not only of blood from the deceased, but blood from the accused. You would need to have a witness who is able to identify that cap,” she added.
Miss Llewellyn pointed out that if a complainant is unavailable, the case would have to be discontinued.
“It is always best to have the complainant, which is why if the complainant doesn’t make himself or herself available, you may enter a nolle prosequi, which refers to the matter being discontinued before trial,” the DPP said.
Additionally, the DPP maintained that “irrespective of the nature of the case, the subject matter, the name or background of a particular person or the victims or witnesses, we have to do our duty fairly and fearlessly and irrespective of what happens.we have no interest to serve other than the pursuit of justice for all in respect of how we treat with a matter.”
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions pursues matters relating to, but not limited to, police officers, members of the legal profession, the medical profession, the media, political directorate on both sides and other areas in society.