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No loss of rights!

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01.FEB.11

Editor: My understanding is that the recent passage of the Bill to amend Section 69 of the Criminal Procedures Code in NO way curtails or takes away ANY rights from Vincentian citizens. This is so because any person can still bring a criminal charge against another person; the amendment simply addresses a change in procedure, that is, where you FIRST lodge the complaint.{{more}}

What is different now is that if you believe that someone commits a criminal act against you, you can still have that person punished or jailed. What has to happen first is that you or your lawyer must now go to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as a FIRST step. The DPP will examine the evidence and then decide if the case has a reasonable chance of success. If the DPP thinks that it does he will send it forward. If he decides that it does not, then he will stop it. However, that is NOT the end.

Even if the DPP stops the case the matter IS NOT DEAD. If you do not agree with the DPP’s decision then the next step is to CHALLENGE The DPP’s decision by asking the COURT or a JUDGE to review or CHANGE the decision made by the DPP. Once that is done successfully, the case moves forward.

What this essentially means is that nobody can now deliberately and maliciously embarrass and tarnish the name of anyone by “taking them to COURT” and having them in the media for a matter that has NO MERIT or no evidence.

If this is in fact the essence of the amendment, the only issue that should really be up for debate is whether the DPP’s office will have the capacity to review these potential cases and ensure that there is no delay in dispensing justice. The NDP’s issue of the political background of the present DPP is really a non-issue which will eventually disappear once the individual is no longer in office.

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