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Queen’s Counsel – No one’s rights will be taken away

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The amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code which makes it mandatory for anyone seeking to file private complaints to first seek the permission of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) does not take away persons’ rights.{{more}}

This is the view of Queen’s Counsel Parnell Campbell.

He gave his opinion during his television programme The Law and You on Monday, January 31, 2011. Campbell stated that although the permission of the DPP must first be acquired, the fundamental right of the person still exists as the DPP’s decision can be subjected to judicial review by the High Court.

“The High Court can overlook what the DPP has done and can tell him whether he is right or wrong,” Campbell stated. “Now if you had lost the right to go to the High Court to complain against the DPP, then something would have been seriously wrong,” he continued.

Campbell explained that the procedure of first seeking the DPP’s permission to continue with a complaint is nothing new to the law. He then quoted 21 cases in the law in which this procedure applies, including sections of laws such as the Libel and Slander Act, the Marine Insurance Act and the Public Order Act.

Campbell added that the Act can be objected on the grounds all private complaints should first receive the permission of the DPP to continue. “They can quarrel with that, but you cannot say that it has taken away your right,” he stressed.

Campbell also commented on the protest which took place outside the gates of the Court House on Friday, January 28, describing it as disturbing, adding: “I would hope that people exercise their right to protest but not to go overboard.”