Disappointed with the poor performance of the State’s prosecutorial arm, Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, has embarked on an ingenious initiative that will hopefully lead to more wins than losses going forward. Earlier today, the AG announced that young Guyanese who have a Bachelor’s of Law Degree and are unemployed, will be hired as State Prosecutors if they so desire.
He made this known during the handing over ceremony for the Criminal Justice System Programme of the Ministry of Legal Affairs which was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Except in Capital Offences tried before a Judge and Jury in the High Court, Nandlall said that invariably, all criminal offences, in the Magistrate’s Court are prosecuted by Police ranks who undergo certain limited training in the area of prosecution.
The AG said that such has been the position since independence. He said, “While very few can doubt that having regard to their limited training, and I dare say, their lack of legal education and in some cases equipped only with secondary education, they have acquitted themselves reasonably well against the most formidable of Defence Counsel.”
At the same time, Nandlall said that no one can dispute that because of the appreciable inequality there have been multiple miscarriages of justice, simply because of Defence Counsel’s superior knowledge and training in the law.
As a result, Nandlall said that the victims of crime, the State and the public interest, suffer decades of grievous injustice. Taking this into account, Nandlall said it is the State’s duty, though belated, to address this deficiency if true justice is to be achieved in the criminal justice system. Nandlall said, “…I am aware that there are dozens of persons in Guyana, especially young persons, who are possessed of a Bachelor’s of Law Degree but for whatever reason have not proceeded to one of the Law Schools in the Region and are here and are at home in Guyana unemployed.”
With this in mind, the Attorney General said he has begun a process of creating a database of these persons and they will be soon contacted to join a new initiative, which will see a collaboration between the Guyana Police Force and the Director of Public Prosecutions, whereby after completing a one year accredited prosecutorial training course, they will be hired as prosecutors and will join Police prosecutors in the Magistrate’s Court, right across the length and breadth of our country.
In his view, Nandlall opined that this addition will augment the quality of prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Court qualitatively, while at the same time provide a great job and career opportunity for many graduates of law, who are currently unemployed. The AG stated that this must have a positive impact and must result in great improvements in the standard of prosecutorial service, so that victims of crime can feel confident when they enter the courtroom and be a little satisfied when they leave in the end that justice has been served.
Nandlall said that the sad reality currently is that many times, victims of crime feel that the ordeal, which they have to endure in the court because of the lack of proper legal representation, is sometimes worse than the crime itself, which they had to endure. “I will be the first to concede that this is not the ultimate solution, but I will be bold to say that it is a step in the right direction,” the AG expressed.
In terms of training of these new recruits, Nandlall said that discussions have already begun for the implementation of a one year accredited prosecutorial training programme at the University of Guyana with the Head of the Department of Law and the Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Law. Over the next few weeks, these discussions will intensify and hopefully conclude.