Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 26, 2020 (RSCNPF): A number of training sessions are being held to sensitize prosecutors and investigators on the transition away from Preliminary Inquiries (PI’s) to Committal Proceedings or “Paper Committals” for High Court cases.
The change took effect on July 24, 2020. The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Valston Graham, is presently facilitating the sessions. The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force is partnering with the DPP’s office for the initiative.
Officers from Division ‘C’ were the first to undergo this training which was held on July 21, in Nevis followed by Officers from Division ‘B’ on July 23. The Officers were educated on their roles in the new system, the importance of the change and the way forward with the collaboration between the Police and the DPP’s office.
Mr. Graham noted that the change is designed to reduce delays, backlogs and achieve greater efficiency in transmission of indictable cases to the High Court. He stressed the importance of having a good relationship between both offices to ensure a smooth transition.
“It is important that when you do your investigative aspects of the case, that you do your very best to ensure that the finished product that comes to me comes in a manner that really assists, not just with the preparation of the paper committal bundle, but also assist in terms of the presentation of the case before the court. So, our roles, while they may be separate, they definitely do overlap. What I want you to do is put your best foot forward in terms of the preparation of your case files…”
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) responsible for the Crime Directorate, Andre Mitchell, who was present at the sessions, explained that committal proceedings came about as a result of an amendment to the Magistrate Court of Procedures Act No. 4 of 2018.
The ACP disclosed that the training has been progressing quite well with the “Police Officers expressing a keen interest in the new and improved method of case file preparation.”
“Investigators are expected to exhibit a higher level of efficiency in the delivery of service when it comes to investigating and submitting case files, hence the need to sharpen their skills in key areas such as, for example, investigative interviewing and statement taking,” he said.
The participants engaged the DPP with several questions about this new procedure and ended the training with a keen knowledge on the way forward. The training for District ‘A’ is slated for July 28.