DPP says IMPACTS cases still under review

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CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Feb, 3, CMC – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Daasrean Greene, has promised St. Lucians that he has made “an extensive review…of the majority of the cases” involving alleged police shootings on the island.
Speaking at a news conference here on Thursday, Greene said that he has in excess of 21 of these matters under review and that he has been able to “plot a way forward in the majority of these matters.
“In some instances I have written to the Commissioner of Police expressing my opinion. I must state that many of these matters are still incomplete in terms of the criminal investigations and as such I cannot disclose details of any finings of what in particular is missing from these investigations as this would only prejudice the due process.
“I hope everyone can appreciate that. We don’t try to prejudge issues, we have to allow matters to complete the investigative state. We know some matters have bene sent to the Coroner’s Court …and certain pronouncements have been made, but these pronouncements are no findings of guilt on the part of any person.
“I can assure everyone that these matters are not shelved. I basically work on these matters every single day, there’s a lot to be done,” Green told reporters.
In 2015, the then Kenny Anthony government said it had received a report of an investigation carried out by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) into the alleged extra-judicial killings by members of the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).
In 2013, the St Lucia government enlisted the help of the Jamaican police to investigate the RSLPF. This came on the heels of the United States withdrawing security related assistance after claims of human rights violations.
In August 2013, Washington suspended all forms of assistance to the RSLPF, citing allegations of serious human rights violations.
“The Department of State has made a policy decision to withdraw training and material assistance to the Royal St Lucia Police Force due to credible allegations of gross human rights violations,” the US State Department said in a statement then.
As a result, Police Commissioner, Vernon Francois, was prevented from travelling to the US to represent the Regional Security Service (RSS) at a conference of Black Police Chiefs.
In January last year, diplomats from the European Union (EU) met with  Anthony to discuss the controversial report on allegations of police brutality and a number of issues related to development cooperation.
The talks on the so-called IMPACS (Implementation Agency for Crime and Security) report with respect to the allegations of 12 unlawful killings by the police during the period 2010-2011.
In a radio and television broadcast to the nation on March 8, 2015 on certain aspects contained in the report, Anthony said among other things, that the police staged fake encounters and planted evidence in the twelve fatal shootings that took place.
However there since been no action on the recommendations, ‎prompting the EU representative to write Anthony in December 2015 seeking clarification on the status of the report and calling on those responsible to ensure due process in accordance with St. Lucia’s Criminal Law system.
Greene told reporters that since his tenure as DPP, he can say “it is not mandatory that an inquisition be ordered into these matters where there is any police related shootings and the subsequent exploration of the subject.
“I can commence a criminal or criminal proceedings subsequent to a police investigation,” he said, adding “there is not an absolute rule that these matters ought to go to inquest.
“So we will have these matters resolved but I would ask for the patience of the public and I am not going to be indicating every single stage. These are very sensitive issues, the liberty of certain subjects are at stake and we must also consider what has happened in these tragic circumstances,’ Green said.
Greene said he was imploring the public “to allow me some patience. Your patience is solicited in these matters”.
During his news conference, the DPP also made reference to the situation regarding the death of the British hotelier Oliver Gobat, whose body was found on April 24, 2015, in his burnt out vehicle
The 38-year-old man had been shot twice in the head at least two miles from the luxury hotel his family owned at Cap Estate, north of here.
Greene said he wanted to clarify “what has been going around in terms of my authority being fettered or usurped in some way shape or form by certain messages being sent to the Home Office of the United Kingdom pertaining to the death” of the hotelier.
“I can say categorically that that is not true, that I can say I did send correspondence to the Home Office reference to this matter” and as is expected all the parties concerned had been updated on the ongoing situation.
“Again as I can say…this matter being of a sensitive nature  …I will not discuss issues pertaining to this matter at all. This will simply compromise the investigations etc. and I am not about to delve into this, but I can safely say as a small state we will, we have required great assistance from our friends overseas…and I don’t see any sign of this stopping.
“As everyone can see we are just not capable of doing all of the investigations…the fine tuning of the investigations on our own there will always be the need for foreign assistance.
Late last month, former prime minister Anthony denied that his former St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government had given an assurance to Britain that it would not pursue the death penalty for anyone convicted of murdering a British hotelier in 2014.
Police have not held anyone in relation to the murder of Gobat, who was born here, but grew up in Surrey in England.
In a statement, Anthony, who left office in June after his SLP government was defeated in the general election, said his attention had been drawn to a statement made by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet during a news conference earlier this month indicating that the former government had “promised to send a letter to the British Government saying we would not pursue the death penalty and we were told repeatedly that that letter had been sent”.
Chastanet is reported to have said “that was a lie” in relation to the letter having been sent.

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