THE EDITOR, Sir:
Having read the rather elaborate (ex post facto) observations advanced by the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in The Gleaner, I and some of your readers are still left wondering why the prosecution of the defendant, Det Sgt Lloyd Kelly, was persisted with up to trial.
The continuation of the prosecution seems to go against the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions' (ODPP) published guidance, especially Section 8, which makes the point that a prosecution should not be continued where the evidence in essence is weak.
In the Kelly case, and from what the DPP has told us, there was no way that a guilty verdict could have been reached. Therefore, what the DPP needs to tell taxpayers, in a simple sentence, is why her office continued with a prosecution that was hopeless and what other options under the law were available to the Crown, having realised (long before trial) that the video evidence was absent.
The law was not used effectively and to its fullest in this case, and one notes that this issue is one that was not addressed by the DPP in her public utterances. What consideration was given, if any, to entering a nolle prosequi?
public needs to know
We don't need ex post facto justifications. The public is entitled to know what thought went into these issues, as despite the lengthy comments by the DPP, we are none the wiser.
The prosecution is not the investigative branch of the State. However, in most jurisdictions, there is a close professional relationship between the prosecutor and the investigators, for obvious reasons, and this can only assist in ensuring that evidence is of a high quality.
The DPP's office can develop a closer working relationship with the police without compromising its independence.
There might be a need to amend the Evidence Act, but what is more urgent is effective case management at the ODPP, and this means improved training of the prosecutors as there is this perception that defence counsel are running rings around comparatively less-experienced state prosecutors.
Second, the ODPP must stop persisting with prosecutions that are hopeless, as that is an abuse of process and a waste of our limited resources. These are matters of management of a case, not pure law, so quoting authorities will not help. The office needs management.