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Public Defender's office tables report in Parliament after seven years

Published:Tuesday | January 13, 2015 | 7:29 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The first annual reports in seven years from the Office of the Public Defender were tabled in the House of Representatives this afternoon.

The reports for 2012 and 2013 were completed under the leadership of outgoing acting public defender, Matondo Mukulu.

The last annual report on the work of the Public Defender’s office was tabled in 2008 under the then leadership of Earl Witter.

He served as Public Defender from 2006 to April last year.

In January 2013, parliamentarians expressed disgust with the lack of reports and called on the Speaker of Lower House to address the matter.

State entities are required by law to file annual reports and financial statements at the end of each financial year.

Meanwhile, the reports submitted today showed that between 2000 and 2013, the office received 11,442 complaints.

Of that number, 6,858 were closed at the end of 2013.

In a Gleaner interview in May, following his appointment, Mukulu said there had been a number of failures during Witter's tenure from 2006 to 2014.

He argued that more could have been done to close many of the cases.

Witter had responded to criticisms, saying resource shortages were affecting the work of the office.

Yesterday, the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen confirmed that human rights advocate and lawyer, Arlene Harrison Henry is to be Witter's permanent replacement.

Harrison Henry is to be sworn in as Public Defender later this week.

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