Ms Tiffany R. Scatliffe, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), made a brief presentation when she appeared before the House of Assembly (HoA) Standing Finance Committee (SFC) last month, as legislators examined the 2023 Budget Estimates.
The DPP listed the statistical figures up to November 15, 2022, as follows:
426 complaints were laid and there were 23 indictments.
In the Magistrate's Court, the office had one hundred and fifty-two (152) convictions and ninety -four (94) acquittals.
In the High Court, the office had twenty-five (25) convictions, seven (7) non-convictions and two (2) appeals. In the Court of Appeal, the office had four (4) High Court appeals, and seven (7) Magistrate's Court appeals, with 2 Magistrate's Court appeals being heard.
The office forfeited $1,187,561.00 and her office detained $599, 247, according to the SFC report.
Deputy Premier and Minister for
Communications and Works Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5), right, and Minister for
Natural Resources and Labour and Member for the Second District Hon
Melvin M. Turnbull, left, had questions for DPP Tiffany R. Scatliffe
during Standing Finance Committee in December 2022.
Not the crown fault-DPP
The Minister for Natural Resources and Labour and Member for the Second District Hon Melvin M. Turnbull inquired about suggestions to be done between the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, DPP Office and the Magistrate’s Court to ensure that persons receive proper representations.
The DPP in her response stated that “the Criminal Justice System is not dependent on the crown. There is a defense bar as well.”
Ms Scatliffe also indicated that the remedy for the delays is the Criminal Procedure Rules. This procedure “puts strict timelines on parties to ensure that matters go through the court system faster.”
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Communications and Works Hon Kye M. Rymer (R5) thanked the DPP and indicated that she had his “full support.” He queried whether she had moved to her new location.
The DPP stated that the office has moved to the new location, and it was completed at the end of July 2022, however, she did not indicate where the location was in the SFC report.
Hon Rymer also queried if the DPP was fully staffed.
Not fully staff-DPP
The DPP indicated that she is “not fully staffed.” Ms Scatliffe also indicated there are three (3) Senior Crown Counsel posts vacant, one (1) Crown Counsel post vacant, two (2) Legal Executive Officer post vacant and one (1) Paralegal II (Case file Manager) post vacant.
Is she truly independent as per the constitution?
Over the past months, the Office of the DPP has come under fire about her independence and whether the Governor is directing her on who should be prosecuted and targeted.