DPP Clarifies her Role in Lawsuit Against Mr. Penner

vlcsnap-2014-03-28-18h17m24s98Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal today broke her silence with regard to the case against Elvin Penner brought by Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA).

After Thursday’s drama and spectacle of which she was a small part, Belize’s chief prosecutor felt the need to clarify her role, which essentially is that of an observer.  Having met with such group on Wednesday, she made clear that while private prosecutions are an avenue of bringing a matter to the court, the ultimate responsibility for prosecution of a crime once the tests of sufficient evidence and level of public interest are satisfied, rests in the office of the DPP.

She points out that while her office has not been satisfied to lay charges based on what has been presented by the police, that investigation has not yet concluded and the directives given by the office three Fridays ago have not been met, and if she is not in a position at this time to lay such charges, then she cannot assume control of any prosecution brought by anyone else.

This means that the Director wants to keep an eye on any proceedings which will bear on her decision to prosecute or not prosecute.

She was not present in the matter in any role whatsoever, and warns that she has not “joined COLA, (appeared) on behalf of COLA [or is] adding weight to COLA”.

She does, however, offer her support and will see to it that the office follows its mandate and represents the public interest, including, and here she emphasizes “if and when we reach that point,” taking over and making the decisions from that point on.  The case returns to court on May 29.

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