LALIT has sent the following letter to the Minister of Justice following his call for comments on the role of the Director of Public Prosecutions following criticisms of many decisions of successive DPP's.
This is what LALIT says:
The Director of Public Prosecutions is the only individual who finally decides whether a person be charged of an offence or not. Yet the DPP, who prosecutes people in the name of all citizens, and who is paid out of public funds, is accountable to no-one. The DPP, as things stand, has no obligation to explain why it is necessary to charge and prosecute an individual. Many people have been, and continue to be prosecuted without reasonable cause.
We, in LALIT, know of many such cases. Our own members have experienced them. LALIT militant Roland Fozoo and Devianand Narrain were charged with "Rogue and Vagabond" by the police when they were visiting a person who had appealed to them for assistance after he had been beaten up by Police. They were arrested, charged and prosecuted, and were naturally found not guilty. LALIT members Ram Seegobin and Lindsey Collen were charged with supposed "molesting police" when Police entered private premises and tried to eaves-drop at in a meeting organising the anti-Bush demonstration when the AGOA forum was to be held in Mauritius. Both LALIT militants were, again naturally, found not guilty. Alain Tolbize, trade-unionist of Rodrigues, was charged and prosecuted with "planting drugs" on the trumped up allegations of a political agent. In his judgement, the Intermediate Court Magistrate said the case had been "concocted".
In the above cases, all of which to have to do with political or union activities, it is rather surprising that the flimsy or concocted nature of the evidence should have escaped the attention of the DPP.
Similarly, the DPP, as things stand, has no obligation to state why no charges are laid and why someone is NOT prosecuted when it is apparent to everyone that there is evidence enough for charges to be laid. Deaths in police detention, even when followed by a judicial enquiry where there is medical evidence showing that the death is no natural one, such as in the cases of Yvon Regis Rehaut and Reginald Topize (Kaya), have not resulted in police pressing formal charges. The DPP has up to now, not even come up with charges when the NHRC recommends that the DPP do so. In general, because the DPP and police prosecution departments work closely together in criminal cases, the DPP then appears to lack the will to prosecute when the potential Accused is from the Police force.
Neither does the DPP explain why sometimes, formal charges are mysteriously struck off without explanation.
LALIT believes that the DPP, a Constitutionally protected office, should be made accountable. We believe that the DPP should explain the reasons why an individual should be charged and prosecuted, or why not. By way of comparison, the Ombudsman, another Constitutionally protected Office, submits an Annual Report to the Representatives of the People. The Annual Report is tabled at the National Assembly and is made public. This Annual Report states all the cases brought to the Ombudsperson, and states what action, if any has been taken, and if not, why not. The DPP should, in the same manner, be made to present an Annual Report listing all cases brought to his attention, what decision or action he has taken, and why. This Annual Report should be tabled in the National Assembly so that it is open to public scrutiny.
We believe that when charges are struck off, the DPP should state why and this declaration be read in Open Court so that it is made public.
Rajni Lallah for LALIT, 31 Oktob, 2005.