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Pryde Stresses In Geneva: ODPP Is Independent

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution is an independent body and does not report to the Attorney General. Director of Public Prosecution, Christopher Pryde made the statement during
10 Oct 2017 11:30
Pryde Stresses In Geneva: ODPP Is Independent

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution is an independent body and does not report to the Attorney General.

Director of Public Prosecution, Christopher Pryde made the statement during his opening address at the 36th Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, side event organised by the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the UN in Geneva at the Palais des Nations, last month.

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations Office in Geneva is Nazhat Shameem Khan.

“My office is an independent office established under the Constitution and, importantly, makes decisions on criminal prosecutions independently of Government,” Mr Pryde said.

“Accordingly and appropriately, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) does not report to the Attorney General nor confer with him or with any minister of Government,” he said.

In addition, he said when it came to talking about safeguard against torture, independent and non-political bodies such as the DPP’s office or the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination have important roles to play.

“For this reason when reports or updates are commissioned, it is vital that independent office holders are consulted and given an opportunity to contribute.

“My office is always open for discussion on these important issues,” he said.

Mr Pryde deliberated on the regular release of statistics on criminal offending including cases against Police officers.

He said the office actively engaged with Non-Government Organisations to conduct researches but must be approached directly for their input and not through Government.

While at the event, Mr Pryde highlighted Fiji’s new 2013 Constitution and Fiji’s ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture in 2016.

This included the Police First Hour procedure and the digital recording of Police interviews in the pilot project.

Mr Pryde confirmed that DPP will soon be recruiting translators and transcribers.

“The unit will be responsible in translating and transcribing all digitally recorded Police interviews,” he said.

“These were important steps that moved Fiji in the right direction.

“Setting up the unit will speed up the number of interviews made ready to proceed to court.

“The other advantage to having the transcription unit based in the ODPP is to provide an independence from the Police in terms of translation,” he said.

According to Mr Pryde it has been observed in the past that there was a “tendency for Police transcribers in the interview room interpreting certain words or phrases to fit a particular outcome or element of the offence.”

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola

Feedback:  arishma.narayan@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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