DPP Llewellyn not up to par
THE EDITOR, Sir: The repeated acceptance of the mediocrity in the justice system by Paula Llewellyn, director of public prosecutions (DPP), has become unbearable. Her response to the recent claim by the Independent Commission of Investigations that ineffective prosecution in the matter of the fatal shooting of Robert 'Kentucky Kid' Hill led to the accused being freed was shallow and irresponsible. Her action borders on prosecutorial misconduct.
Justice is not an abstract academic subject, which is how the DPP treats it. Criminality affects people and involves victims/families. Her job is to be on the side of the people; she has to fight tooth and nail for victims, just as the defence attorney works for his client. Her claim that investigators and the DPP cannot work together for ethical reasons is rubbish. She has the responsibility to work with law enforcement to ensure that justice is served.
Our Constitution, as with most jurisdictions, allows the DPP to initiate criminal investigations, and she fails to do so. Furthermore, she repeatedly fails to bring multiple charges, which only weakens the prosecution in court. All this adds up to an office that may be understaffed or plain lazy, or both.
UNACCEPTABLE CONVICTION RATE
The Jamaica Constabulary Force low apprehension rate has got lots of media attention, but we have, thus far, ignored the low conviction rate of the DPP. In most jurisdictions with some standard of performance, the DPP would have long ago been replaced.
To get out of this mediocrity, we have to raise the bar so that each time the DPP loses a trial, it becomes a failure of that office. Would justice be better served if the DPP were an elected office?
The DPP has become reactive in the cause of justice with an abstract "we just present the evidence" job. Not so; it is a job that requires you to work assiduously on behalf of the people/victims. The knowledge of the law is not enough of a qualification for this position.
More important are the management skills that ensure that each prosecutor is armed with sufficient evidence for a successful prosecution. Her hands-off approach has become nonsensical. The DPP is not living up to the bar of success.