DPP discusses crime control measures

Last week’s announcement of GOB’s stepped-up crime-fighting measures has caused many to worry if individual’s constitutional rights could be tossed aside, but the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) says that even when the 1994 amendment to the Criminal Justice Act is activated, no one’s rights can be arbitrarily ignored.

On Tuesday, DPP Cheryl-Lynn Vidal said that while the Act gives police officers wide-ranging powers to conduct searches without a warrant, “they must still have probable cause and reasonable suspicion that an offence is being committed.”

She also said that the law, which she agrees is useful, should be revisited, because having to publish it in the Gazette what areas will be declared as “crime ridden”, takes away form the element of surprise.

She further explained that her office is in dialogue with the Ministry of National Security in respect to strengthening the Prosecution Branch of the Police Department.

“But nothing has been finalized,” she said.

Minister of National Security  John Saldivar also announced last Thursday that his ministry would appeal to the DPP to object to bail for repeat offenders.

To this, Vidal explained that when a bail application comes to the DPP’s office and the person is an individual who is already on bail for a similar offence and they don’t see any reason on his petition why he should be granted bail, the DPP’s office would object to bail.

“But it is the court that determines whether an accused person can be admitted to bail. The legislation is there and it is really up to the Judge to grant bail,” she said.

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