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DPP defends decision to reinstate charges against former attorney general

Former AG Bernard Wiltshire

Former AG Bernard Wiltshire

Dominica, CMC – Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Evelina Baptiste is defending the decision to reinstate charges against former attorney general Bernard Wiltshire more than a week after a magistrate dismissed passport fraud related charges against him for want of prosecution.

“Most reasonable people will feel that it is an abuse of process to bring back the same charge which the prosecution could not bring forward in three and a half years, and that this is just another example of how the law is being used to victimize those who are not in the government’s political camp,” Wiltshire said in a statement, adding he regarded the matter as “a clear abuse of process.”

But speaking on the state-owned DBS radio Friday, Baptiste said the dismissal of the matter for want of prosecution”was a procedural dismissal, it was not a dismissal on the merit.

“Basically what I mean is that the matter was not tried, not even a witness was taken. It was dismissed because there was some procedural deficiency on the part of the prosecution.”

She said in circumstances when a matter is dismissed not on the merit, “it can be reinstated” even as she acknowledged that reinstating that the matter was not automatic.

She said one of the considerations had to do with whether the matter was of public importance “requiring ventilation.

“May I say that this is a public interest matter because it involves certificates of birth of citizens and passports, so it could fall under that category and a matter of some public interest”

On Wednesday, Wiltshire was served with a summons charging him with defrauding the state of passports with “unknown persons.”

He was originally charged together with Nash Mitchel, Kimana James and Lyndon Marie.

But Wiltshire said  it was ironic that the charges were being pursed even when the authorities have done nothing to deal with a series of cases involving “fake birth certificates being issued by the Registry which were used to obtain fake passports from the Passport Office at Police Headquarters in a conspiracy that also involved the Dominican High Commission in London and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dominica. “No police officers have been investigated or charged.

“Nobody in the administration has been questioned. Instead the police and the prosecution are looking for scapegoats to cover up the crimes of passport fraud that is going on still in Dominica.”

Wiltshire said there is a need for a public enquiry “to go more deeply into these matters and to see what part was played by the various government departments …and to recommend ways to prevent future abuses as a matter of national security”.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Former AG Bernard Wiltshire

Former AG Bernard Wiltshire

Dominica, CMC – Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Evelina Baptiste is defending the decision to reinstate charges against former attorney general Bernard Wiltshire more than a week after a magistrate dismissed passport fraud related charges against him for want of prosecution.

“Most reasonable people will feel that it is an abuse of process to bring back the same charge which the prosecution could not bring forward in three and a half years, and that this is just another example of how the law is being used to victimize those who are not in the government’s political camp,” Wiltshire said in a statement, adding he regarded the matter as “a clear abuse of process.”

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But speaking on the state-owned DBS radio Friday, Baptiste said the dismissal of the matter for want of prosecution”was a procedural dismissal, it was not a dismissal on the merit.

“Basically what I mean is that the matter was not tried, not even a witness was taken. It was dismissed because there was some procedural deficiency on the part of the prosecution.”

She said in circumstances when a matter is dismissed not on the merit, “it can be reinstated” even as she acknowledged that reinstating that the matter was not automatic.

She said one of the considerations had to do with whether the matter was of public importance “requiring ventilation.

“May I say that this is a public interest matter because it involves certificates of birth of citizens and passports, so it could fall under that category and a matter of some public interest”

On Wednesday, Wiltshire was served with a summons charging him with defrauding the state of passports with “unknown persons.”

He was originally charged together with Nash Mitchel, Kimana James and Lyndon Marie.

But Wiltshire said  it was ironic that the charges were being pursed even when the authorities have done nothing to deal with a series of cases involving “fake birth certificates being issued by the Registry which were used to obtain fake passports from the Passport Office at Police Headquarters in a conspiracy that also involved the Dominican High Commission in London and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dominica. “No police officers have been investigated or charged.

“Nobody in the administration has been questioned. Instead the police and the prosecution are looking for scapegoats to cover up the crimes of passport fraud that is going on still in Dominica.”

Wiltshire said there is a need for a public enquiry “to go more deeply into these matters and to see what part was played by the various government departments …and to recommend ways to prevent future abuses as a matter of national security”.