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Caribbean Court signal’s displeasure with Guyana DPP’s powers to direct magistrates to recommit accused persons


(Demerara Waves) The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Thursday frowned heavily on what they regard as the power of Guyana’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to direct a court to recommit an accused person for fresh proceedings.

“Whether the DPP is pr is not a member of the executive, to me it does not detract from the fact whether a court ought not to be directed by some other authority other than a Court of Appeal; only a Court of Appeal can direct a court,” said CCJ President, Justice Adrian Saunders. “It is very incongruous if someone is invested with a power to direct a court,” he added, in response to a request by Attorney-at-Law Darshan Ramdhani to state whether the DPP is part of the executive.

He and other judges made known similar positions after the DPP Shalimar Hack said she merely exercised an administrative function in a quasi-judicial capacity so that a Magistrate could first conduct a preliminary inquiry as a “stage” to determine whether there was sufficient evidence for Birsam to face trial in the High Court.

But the CCJ President was not at all convinced, suggesting very strongly that the law that allows the DPP to do so amounted to a conflict of interest by a party in a case. “Whether you call it a stage or whatever you call it, the point is that we have a situation in Guyana where, as Mr. Justice Wit pointed out to you, a litigant before that court is vested with the power to direct the court on what it should and should not do in a matter in which that litigant is a party and I’m asking you : does that strike you as being too odd,” she said.

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