Saturday, June 1, 2013

Letter: Time for changes at the DPP's office

Luciana Deleon - Free at last
I wept tears of joy for Luciana Deleon. You may not remember who she is, that she was freed of murder by senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne on Wednesday May 29th 2013.

The Magistrate accepted a no case submission because the evidence clearly showed that she was defending herself when she was attacked by a man in the street with a piece of wood. 

A clear case of self-defence there can hardly be. A no case submission can only succeed when it is absolutely clear that there is no realistic evidence to substantiate the charge of murder. The Magistrate stopped the case at the preliminary enquiry and does not allow it to go forward for determination by a judge and jury in the High Court.Ms Deleon, a mother of six spent three years in jail awaiting trial. Her six children have been forced to grow up without a mother. This was all because the DPP charged and prosecuted her despite the clear evidence of self-defence.

The DPP wields enormous power but is accountable to no one. His decisions and conduct is evaluated by no one. He must shoulder some responsibility and blame for the low conviction rates in the courts as he has a duty to satisfy himself that there is enough evidence to secure a conviction before he goes ahead with a prosecution.

In recent times, we have seen numerous cases dismissed by the courts. The Magistrate in Basdeo Pandey’s case was stinging in her criticism of the DPP’s conduct. Perhaps the time has come as part of our Consultation Reform process to make the DPP answerable to a bi-partisan sub-committee of the Parliament as it is clear that he is a runaway horse with no reins far less jockey.

Tamara Bernard | Maloney Gardens

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai