Beautiful Virgin Islands

Friday, May 27, 2022

'No one can tell me who to prosecute'-Tiffany R. Scatliffe-Esprit

'No one can tell me who to prosecute'-Tiffany R. Scatliffe-Esprit

The Virgin Islands’ Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Tiffany R. Scatliffe-Esprit told members of the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) last month, December 2021, when they examined the estimate for the 2022 Budget, that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was the “sole authority on the prosecution of all criminal matters private or public.”

She stated that “only the DPP could commence, take over or discontinue criminal prosecutions.”

While testifying before the SFC last year, Scatliffe-Esprit made it clear that her Department is a constitutionally independent body and is not subject to any other person or authority. She stated; however, that it did not mean that it was independent of the Ministry of Finance or the Department of Human Resources, and had to liaise with them with regards "to staffing and financial matters".

The first Virgin Islander to hold the post of DPP noted that she further clarified that bail, Legal Aid/Public Defenders, Administration of the Courts (sentencing decisions, decisions made by the Courts) matters of parole, and issuance of Firearm Licenses were not in her purview. In addition, the DPP corrected some common misconceptions about the department. DPP Scatliffe-Esprit said her office is not a part of the Attorney General’s Chambers; not a Government Office, but a law firm that is a part of Government.

DPP Mrs Tiffany R. Scatliffe-Esprit said her office is not an investigative body, it is a 'prosecutorial body and will only commence criminal proceedings upon receipt of a case file from a law enforcement agency, and there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public's interest'.


‘Only I can Prosecute’- DPP


She further stated that “no person or authority can tell the DPP who to prosecute, what to prosecute, or what to discontinue; the decision of the DPP in whether a matter is prosecuted and how it is prosecuted is final and not subject to review or appeal”.

Mrs Scatliffe-Esprit noted too that her office is not an investigative body, it is a “prosecutorial body and will only commence criminal proceedings upon receipt of a case file from a law enforcement agency, and there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public's interest,” according to the SFC report released to the public by the House of Assembly.

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