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DPP cautions against giving INDECOM powers to prosecute

Published:Thursday | November 28, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has warned Parliament against proceeding down a slippery slope should it not move to prevent the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) from prosecuting matters in the court.

Llewellyn said yesterday that the proposition by INDECOM's commissioner, Terrence Williams, that granting expressed prosecutorial powers to his organisation would lead to "better quality case out there" put before the court is fraught with danger.

"That is a dangerous comment for the investigator and the prosecutor, being the same person, to do," Llewellyn said.

The DPP's office was appearing before a joint select committee of Parliament that is reviewing the INDECOM Act.

Williams has been pushing for Parliament to expressly grant prosecutorial powers to INDECOM, which has been set up to investigate instances of abuse by members of the security forces.

"It is a realisation of the workload of the DPP and the clerk of the courts, and the view that we hold that we can improve the service and put a better quality case out there and also guide the investigation even better when you have this kind of involvement at the earliest stage.

"It is the way to proceed in many areas of complex crime," Williams said.

But Llewellyn pounced on the assertion, saying the investigator's role is to investigate, and a prosecutor's role is not to side with a prosecutor to "put a better quality case out there".

"We don't want to go there. He has to be very careful. We respect each other; let us keep the respect," Llewellyn said.

However, committee Chairman Mark Golding opined that Llewellyn might have misinterpreted Williams' comment and that it, in fact, meant that the prosecution of the case was thorough.