Letter: Cases dismissed due to no-case submissions

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Dear Editor,

There seems to be a serious problem within the Office of The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). From 6th October, 2020 to now, there have been no less than thirteen (13) cases of serious offences which have been dismissed by various courts because of no-case submissions.

Among those cases are ten murder cases involving fourteen accused, one case of armed robbery involving three persons accused of attempting to rob the Republic Bank on Water St., one case of threatening to bomb the University of Guyana, and one case of causing death by dangerous driving.

Each of these cases was dismissed or discharged because the defence submitted that they had no case to defend, as the prosecutors had failed to produce enough evidence against the defendants. This means that the DPP’s Office had failed to produce enough evidence against the defendant(s) in each case to warrant the continuation of the trial, with the judges or magistrates accepting the no- case submissions presented.

Why is the DPP’s Office wasting valuable resources by taking to trial cases which are lacking sufficient evidence? Prosecutors working in that Office are highly trained lawyers who represent the state in seeking justice. However, it is unjust for persons to be: arrested, charged, and in many cases remanded to prison (for many years), only to be freed because of a no-case submission.

The website of the DPP’s Office states that while it does not conduct investigations into criminal offences, it provides legal advice to the various law enforcement agencies. The website continues: “We give personal and individualised attention to each Police file, sifting through thousands of statements annually, because each case is important to us as it is to you. We are committed to: hard work, service, justice, transparency and integrity. We work to ensure that justice is done in each case.” (https://www.dpp.gy/)

Therefore, the DPP’s Office should be advising the law enforcement agencies that, where necessary, they need to have stronger evidence provided before the accused can be brought to court. It makes no sense going to court to prosecute an accused with a weak case.

Thirteen cases of serious criminal offences within a year being thrown out of court for lack of evidence is a serious indictment of the DPP’s Office. It would appear that the DPP’s Office has not been providing excellent legal advice to the law enforcement agencies, and in so doing, has been damaging Guyana’s legal system.

Regards,
Jonathan Yearwood