DPP proposes witness protection program
Thursday, October 25, 2018
by Janelle Norville, GIS

The Director of Public Prosecutions, speaking at the Opening of the Law Year 2018/2019 reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring access to justice.

The country’s judicial system no doubt has taken several hits resulting in a. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Daasrean Greene said the backlog of cases is a longstanding concern of the Criminal Division of the High Court of Justice.

“Statistical data emanating from the registry of the High Court of Justice in its criminal jurisdiction reveals that the criminal division disposed of a total number of 733 cases in 2017. Clearly, it can be anticipated that the disposal rate in 2018 will be extensively affected by the intermittent and sporadic sittings of the high court due, to the aforesaid challenges, causing an increase in the backlog of criminal cases that my office and the court faces. I have been reliably informed, however, that the challenge of proper housing will be addressed in short order by the retrofitting of the building which currently houses the criminal division.”

The Office of Public Prosecution and the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force also have another challenge—that of witness intimidation. Greene asserted that it is time for the implementation of a well-structured witness protection program. He further stated that consideration should be given to the implementation of witness anonymity legislation. 

“This will foster the greater confidence of vital witnesses in our judicial system. I also wish to applaud the efforts of the Honorable Chief Justice and the Sentencing Advisory Committee for the consideration of the implementation of sentencing guidelines. This is a very timely initiative and absolutely necessary in establishing uniformity in approach of judges and magistrates to sentencing.”

The DPP reassured that the Office of Public Prosecutions remains resolute in ensuring that all efforts are made to assist the court in fulfilling its mandate.