Legal luminary Frank Phipps has raised concern about the decision of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn to reverse a position announced by one of her top deputies in the bribery case involving three high-profile Jamaicans.
Phipps, a prominent Queen's Counsel, was making reference to the announcement by Llewellyn on Wednesday that her office does not require a statement from Police Commissioner Owen Ellington in the case.
On August 22, Senior Deputy DPP Dirk Harrison told the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court that "based on some intelligence we have, we need a statement from the commissioner".
However, Phipps, in discussing some of the issues tied to making the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Jamaica's final appellate court, argued that the pursuit of justice by citizens involves several players outside the courtroom and singled out prosecutors and the police.
"We have a senior counsel saying we need a statement from the commissioner of police and the director comes out and says we don't need a statement from the commissioner. What kind of justice that we administering? Can the CCJ solve those problems?" he asked in reference to the high-profile case.
Llewellyn on Wednesday said Harrison's statement was not the official position of her office as he was "merely relaying" an opinion expressed by the police investigators on the case.
police and justice
Turning to the police, Phipps pointed to the case of Kayann Lamont, the pregnant St Thomas woman allegedly shot and killed by a police corporal last week.
"I remember Frank Hill many years ago said when there is an incident on the street, for some level of society the arrival of the police is the end of justice and for another level, the arrival of the police is the beginning of justice and we have to be careful of that," he cautioned.
Phipps, who was speaking during a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the newspaper's central Kingston offices yesterday, said this was one of the reasons for the "strong opinion" that Jamaica should "set our house in order" before considering whether to replace the United Kingdom-based Privy Council with the CCJ.