THE EDITOR, Sir:
According to a French proverb, to excuse oneself is to accuse oneself. Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn, by her own recent statements, managed to accuse herself with her excuse for reversing a decision made by a senior deputy DPP.
Ms Llewellyn told the media on the one hand that her office operated as a team. On the other hand, she said publicly that the senior deputy DPP's comments were not the official position of her office.
If a team wants to remain together, the team leader must accept responsibility in public, no matter what differences may occur in private. The DPP's office has awesome power, including deciding on what statements to request and what witnesses to call.
Where there is a change in prosecution strategy, teamwork would seem to require that counsel assigned to the case tell the court that, based on a review of the case, a decision has been taken to no longer request this or that statement. No blame need be assigned.
The DPP's disclosure about a senior team member's comment is, therefore, too much information. Even worse is the indication that the apparent infraction took place while the DPP was overseas.
Surely, there was a senior team member acting for the DPP in her absence. Is the public to understand that the competence of this team member is also being questioned? Trust and a united front among team members are particularly important when resources are limited and demand for justice is high.
The DPP's office is pivotal in a country in which the almost daily cry is, "We want justice." This office, therefore, needs at least to appear to be resolving conflict, internally or externally. For example, it seems important to end distractions of judge-prosecutor conflict, and return focus to the Kern Spencer trial that has been before the courts since 2008.
In addition, Jamaica's priorities require that any differences between the DPP and agency heads such as the contractor general are resolved outside of media headlines.
The DPP has the opportunity to show the kind of teamwork the country needs to move it forward in the next 50 years.
YVONNE MCCALLA SOBERS