Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Garnett Roper | That curious ruling by DPP?

Published:Sunday | August 28, 2016 | 8:00 AMGarnett Roper

I have found the formal ruling by Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn to close the conspiracy-to-murder case against the politician from the ruling Jamaica Labour Party rather curious. In fact, it seems to me that reading the account in The Gleaner would lead well-thinking people to believe that the timing of the ruling by the DPP is both gratuitous and self-serving.

The Gleaner account stated, inter alia: The director of public prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn, says she has now provided the police with a formal ruling that her office could not mount a viable prosecution against a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) politician based on the 2011 findings of a criminal investigation presented to her office.

Recently, the Miami Herald published an interview with former Scotland Yard detective and former ACP of the JCF, Les Green, who indicated that a carefully investigated case of conspiracy to murder being sought against a Jamaican JLP politician, which required a comprehensive approach to the prosecution, started to go downhill after it was brought to the DPP. The assertion by Green was further that the case collapsed when the JLP-led Ministry of National Security, in the year after the Christopher 'Dudus' Coke extradition, refused to support the witness- protection request made by the police for a key witness in the case.

In calling attention to this long-outstanding matter, the Miami Herald story once again put into sharp focus the reluctance to prosecute alleged high-profile acts of criminality in Jamaica. The Jamaican brand suffered severe damage in the Dudus debacle in 2010, and one would have thought that law enforcement, the Office of the DPP, and Ministry of Justice officials would do everything in their power to ensure that justice was not only done, but seen manifestly to be done.

Instead, what do we find? We find everything that suggests that where the prosecution of crime is concerned, we cherry-pick, and there is a lack of focused enthusiasm. In fact, the story suggests that the high-profile Scotland Yard detective, who was brought to Jamaica to professionalise the JCF, had gave up in disgust, and in that respect left Jamaica a basket case.

 

SHARP FOCUS

 

The Miami Herald article had brought into sharp focus the role of the DPP. The Herald said it obtained a copy of a memo sent from the DPP in response to Green's case. The memo noted that there was "prima facie evidence to base the charge of soliciting murder against [the politician]" and that "persons appear to have very significant credibility issues".

The memo also went on to add that "given the status of the former minister and the nature of these allegations, one should anticipate significant challenges in bringing this matter to trial".

From the very outset, the memo from the DPP read more like something from a defence attorney rather than from the desk of the country's lead prosecutor. By formally closing the case, the DPP has stymied any further public ventilation of the matter.

No chips may fall where they lay. Nothing further can come of this while bloody murder flourishes. The formal discontinuation of the case by the Office of the DPP, coming as quickly as it has after the Miami Herald article, has done nothing to help the reputation of Jamaica's law enforcement and criminal justice.

Why should we believe that Jamaica is not fast becoming a banana republic in which our systems of law enforcement and judicial surveillance function only in the breach? We have neither prosecuted nor ventilated this matter, even though there are people who are willing to say they saw who did it and were prepared to testify under the right conditions.

What is worse? At least two of those who know of this misfeasance are not kibbering their mouth before the foreign press.

- Garnett Roper, PhD, is president of the Jamaica Theological Seminary.

Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and glroper@hotmail.com.