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Judge blasts DPP's office for 'dumping' cases in high court

Published:Monday | May 2, 2016 | 5:16 PM
"When people can't find witnesses at preliminary hearings they (the cases) are taken here on voluntary bill of indictment. It clogs up the list," said Justice Hibbert.

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

A High Court judge today blasted the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions  (ODPP), charging that it was dumping cases on the Home Circuit Court when witnesses cannot be located.

The criticism by Justice Lloyd Hibbert was in reference to the exercise of the DPP's powers to use a voluntary bill of indictment to have cases bypass a preliminary enquiry and be placed before the high court.

"They bring them here and dump them for investigations to be done. Investigations should be done before they come here," Hibbert charged.

"When people can't find witnesses at preliminary hearings they (the cases) are taken here on voluntary bill of indictment. It clogs up the list," he said.

The criticism came as the murder case against Roshane Bygrave was mentioned in the Home Circuit Court.

Prosecutor Cathy Pike acknowledged that the crown has never been ready to proceed to trial in the case.

Bygrave was charged in 2013 and according to his attorney, Christopher Townsend, the main eyewitness and the police investigator, Constable Damion Mitchell, have never attended court.

Pike indicated that an arrest warrant was issued for Mitchell, but stayed.

Hibbert suggested that she brings the matter to the attention of Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams.

According to Townsend, since 2013, the case has been set 10 times for trial in the Circuit Court.