DPP's Office to lose shining star

Published: Sunday | October 14, 2012 Comments 0
Caroline Hay
Caroline Hay

Senior deputy prosecutor tenders her resignation

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will be losing one of its most senior, most hardworking prosecutors come the end of January 2013.

Caroline Patricia Hay, senior deputy director of public prosecutions, has tendered her resignation with what she describes as "mixed feelings".

Hay, who joined the DPP's Office in 2001 as a legal officer in the Financial Crimes Unit, has made significant strides in her career over the last 11 years.

Between 2003 and 2010, she moved from Crown counsel to senior deputy DPP. That is a span of only seven years, a rapid rise within the Government.

Hay has been described by her colleagues both at her office and at the private Bar as a "fair and fearless" prosecutor who is never afraid to take up a challenge.

"My first year of law school was in Guyana, and I was awarded the Pro Vice Chancellor's Medal for the best first-year law student," Hay told The Sunday Gleaner.

"I ended the first degree with Upper Second Class Honours. God was good to me."

A graduate of the Norman Manley Law School and now a criminal practice and procedure tutor there, Hay has a wealth of experience and exposure, which she says will assist her tremendously in her new job.

After graduating from law school in 1994, she spent just over one year working in the commercial department at the law firm Myers, Fletcher and Gordon.

She then went into private practice running two offices, one in St Mary and the other in Kingston.

Hay, who is qualified to practise in Jamaica and Guyana, joined the government service in June 2001 and was the legal officer at the Financial Crimes Unit (now the Financial Investigations Division).

She was sent to work in the Anti-Money-Laundering Unit, which was then based in the Office of the DPP, where she worked under the supervision of then senior deputy director of public prosecutions Bryan Sykes, who is now a Supreme Court judge.

In 2003, Hay joined the staff of the DPP when Kent Pantry QC was the DPP, and most of her promotions took place under Pantry.

"The most significant period of development for me was at the Office of the DPP," Hay disclosed.

She said Pantry and present DPP, Paula Llewellyn QC, have very different styles, but both are brilliant prosecutors.

Hay emphasised that she learnt a a great deal from both senior lawyers.

"I had a good relationship with Mr Pantry. He gave me the freedom to do complex cases. I discussed issues with him, and Miss Llewellyn has continued that trend," she said.

Under the present DPP, Hay did more training of staff, having been assigned additional administrative work. But that was not an issue for her as she also loves to work with the young and mid-level prosecutors to help them resolve their issues with the law and practice.

'I grew a lot there'

Hay also acted as director while Llewellyn was on leave.

"It was a very good stint, very interesting, very challenging. I grew a lot there, and that is where I developed my greatest maturity," Hay said with pride as she described her time at the Office of the DPP.

She added that she met some of the best criminal law practitioners in the country there.

Llewellyn described Hay as a very loyal prosecutor whose wealth of experience, hard work, and high level of professionalism will be greatly missed at the Office of the DPP.

Hay has appeared in many prominent cases in the Court of Appeal, Circuit Courts, and the Resident Magistrate's Court.

She was the lead prosecutor in the case of Sheldon Pusey, who was convicted of the manslaughter of Ambassador Peter King.

She successfully argued against the abuse-of-process application by former Matthews Lane strongman Donald 'Zeeks' Phipps, who is currently serving a sentence for double murder.

Hay was also lead counsel last month for the DPP and the Dutch Government in the Trafigura case in which People's National Party officials are seeking declarations from the Constitutional Court.

She has worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Organisation of American States, the Caribbean Financial Action Task, Force, the Commonwealth Secretariat and several prosecutors' associations.

In parting words of advice to her colleagues, Hay urges prosecutors to always be prepared by focusing on their cases, reading widely, researching, and identifying the issues in advance.

"I would encourage the prosecutors not to be disheartened by the limitations we face in terms of resources, but to focus on what you can do, and do it well," she said.

Although Hay did not disclose where she was taking up her new job, she confessed that she was leaving her present post with a feeling of sadness as it had been home to her for over a decade.

She said that as an anti-money-laundering expert, she wants to continue to work with policymakers and regulated entities to strengthen their internal regimes and to ensure that safe havens are not created in the Caribbean.

"In fact, we should lead the world on how to do this right.

"I know that the firm that is planning to receive me is as excited over the prospects as I am," she added.

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