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DPP disappointed with suspension of Evidence Act debate

Published:Saturday | January 24, 2015 | 6:41 PM

The nation’s chief prosecutor Paula Llewellyn has reacted with disappointment to the decision by lawmakers in the Senate to suspend the debate on proposed amendments to the Evidence Act.

The debate was suspended indefinitely on Friday after some senators expressed concern that one of the changes being contemplated would place accused persons, particularly the poor, at a grave disadvantage.

While giving broad support to the proposed legislation, some senators took issue with plans to repeal section 31 (G) of the existing act, which deals with computer-generated evidence.

Government senator and veteran criminal defense attorney K.D. Knight said removing this section would shift the burden from prosecutors and place an evidentiary burden on a defendant.

Reacting to the decision to suspend passage of the bill, Llewellyn told The Gleaner-Power 106 News Centre that short-sightedness seemed to have trumped 21st-century visionary thinking.

She argued that removing section 31 (G) of the existing Evidence Act would not only benefit prosecutors and says it is unfortunate that so many of the criminal laws in Jamaica have not kept pace with international best practices.


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