Director of Public Prosecutions soon to have greater oversight of criminal matters

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By Orville Williams

[email protected]

The country’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will soon have greater oversight of all criminal matters that come before the court, when amendments to the Criminal Prosecutions Service Act of 2017 begin to be enforced.

Attorney General, Steadroy Benjamin, made that disclosure on Thursday, while explaining that the Act in question had been implemented for that very reason.

“Sometime ago, we passed the Criminal Prosecutions Service Act [and] in that act, we intended to make certain that the DPP is responsible for all criminal matters brought before the court in this State – that’s in keeping with the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda.

“All we’re doing now is just to make sure that all criminal matters in every department – the Labour Department, the Customs Department, Immigration, [the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy] ONDCP and the police – will be under the direction and control of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

This power is granted to the office of the DPP in many territories across the region, and Benjamin says it is important for Antigua and Barbuda, as it will increase the likelihood of success in the prosecution of criminal cases.

“In short, all of these different entities will be the investigating entities, acting on the advice of the DPP, who will direct them whether or not the evidence that they have gathered so far amounts to and can successfully bring a charge against any individual in the society.

“It will ensure that people are not improperly charged and [ensure] that charges, when made, have a reasonable prospect of success.

According to Benjamin, the enforcement of the aforementioned changes will begin as of November 2.

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