The legal system is in disarray as a result of a court ruling just handed down, legal sources say.
According to reports, the High Court ruled in favour of attorney Wendel Robinson, who was representing a police officer charged with a sexual offence.
In a social-media message attributed to Robinson, he says the Court ruled that the charge was “null and void because the prior consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was not obtained.”
This matter again puts the spotlight on the recent revelation that the law handing over the prosecution of criminal matters to the DPP was not being practiced – although effected since 2021 – and charges were still being laid by the Commissioner of Police.
This came to light during the attempted prosecution of former parliamentarian Dean Jonas, which prompted Robinson to ask for the charges to be dismissed. However, in that instance, Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh accepted a letter from the DPP authorizing the Police to prosecute.
However, another attorney tells REAL News that the said acceptance was “pure nonsense.” And with this High Court ruling, he says, “Government must adhere to the Rule of Law.”
He, as well as Robinson, now believes that the Court decision “automatically nullifies” the charges against Jonas.
Further, Robinson says – and his colleague agrees – the ruling “has implications for matters filed in the Magistrates Court after November 2021.”
Most likely, the other attorney says, these implications include the re-filing of all charges made by the Police since that date.
Accordingly, a veteran officer tells our Newsroom, the ruling “nullifies any charge before the court filed in the name of the Commissioner of Police – and especially the Dean Jonas matter in which the DPP did not grant a specific fiat.”
In the meantime, residents are laying responsibility for this foul-up in the lap of Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin.