The article in the
Caymanian Compass of Friday, 22nd October 2010 titled: “Dozens of crimes not
prosecuted” is a clear misrepresentation of facts bringing the Cayman Islands
system of justice into disrepute.
The Government Legal
Department has responsibility for the prosecution of all matters before the
several courts of the Islands, including traffic prosecutions from 1st July
2010 at the request of the police. Given this responsibility, the Department
gives opinions regularly with regard to the laying of possible charges.
To move forward, the
process requires a comprehensive criminal file to be submitted. From time to
time, the Department has been compelled to advise the RCIPS that the matter
cannot proceed because the time prescribed by law, within which charges can
statutorily be laid, has elapsed.
The term “statute
barred” refers to not complying with a statutory requirement for bringing
certain charges. Some offences, usually summary only charges, are required to
be laid at Court within six months of a competent complainant receiving
evidence of the offence.
When a submitted file is
statute barred, a public prosecutor would advise the investigator of this legal
position. It would be irresponsible and contrary to the law not to.
The Legal Department
does not, however, have any control over when a file is submitted for review
after a complaint has been made to the RCIPS or an investigation conducted. The
time frame for completion of investigations is a matter for the police. We
agree with the RCIPS spokesperson that there are many reasons which may be
outside of the control of the Police as to why an Investigating Officer may be
unable to complete an investigation before the time period has elapsed.
Once a file is submitted
to the Department, the date it is received and relevant particulars are
recorded in the Legal Registry System. We obviously could not properly have a
record of files which have not been submitted to us for review. It would, in
the circumstances, be entirely appropriate for the RCIPS, which has a record of
every single complaint (whether or not it has been submitted to the Legal
Department), to respond to a request for information or for such records.
The RCIPS spokesperson’s
statement carried in the article clearly outlines the position with statute
barred cases. We are understandably quite puzzled as to why the unfortunate
misrepresentation of the Legal Department and the prosecution system persist in
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