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DPP Smith implores citizens to put country above self in pursuit of justice

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, (SKNIS): Recent legislative moves to enhance citizen security by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis led to stiffer penalties for possession and the use of illegal firearms, as well as crimes against the person, which covers shooting and non-shooting incidences.

On Wednesday’s (July 03, 2024) edition of the radio and television programme InFocus, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Adlai Smith, welcomed the changes as they fall under the umbrella of criminal justice reform. However, he urged citizens to step forward to help law enforcement.

“Parliament can pass all the laws it wants but unless the citizenry of the country come forward and take part in the justice process it will be all for nought,” Mr. Smith stated.

He noted the Federation’s motto “Country Above Self” “is one of the best mottos in the entire world”, and called on people to put the national interest first to achieve a country where peace abounds.

“If you see something wrong being done out there and you say nothing, you are just as guilty as the perpetrators,” Mr. Smith said.

The DPP recalled a recent case where a person was caught on camera doing an illegal act. His face was partially covered. However, there were two individuals who could provide a positive identification. One of the witnesses said they could not identify the perpetrator, while another refused to cooperate. The case was subsequently withdrawn by the prosecutor. Months later, the same perpetrator was booked and charged for rape on a separate charge.

“When you fail to act to see justice being done, you are putting the rest of the citizenry at risk. “Country Above Self” must be something more than you stick on your shirt or on the wall or over the judge’s head in court,” Mr. Smith emphasised.

Attorney General, the Honourable Garth Wilkin, said that new policies and laws will help to encourage persons to give evidence. The new Justice Interference Prevention Act is one such measure. It prescribes charges that can be filed for anyone seeking to bribe, tamper with or intimidate witnesses, jurors, judges or court officials. A witness protection network is also being developed with regional and international partners to encourage persons to give evidence where necessary in keeping with their civic duties.

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