DPP’s Decision

newsday.co.tt
September 18, 2011

Nelson Street robbery in broad daylight!To our knowledge, none of the actors involved in criminal activity caught on the CCTV footage provided by the state and published this week by this newspaper had active matters before the courts. Quite the contrary. It was our belief that some of the individuals who appeared on the screens may have been men from Nelson Street who were freed of the charge that they were gang members after the DPP advised the Chief Magistrate that the State had insufficient evidence against them. Once there is no matter before the court, we are free to publish the footage, the only risk being that of defamation, a matter for the civil, not criminal courts and thus no concern of the DPP.

On Thursday, Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard issued a release warning members of the media “to refrain from publishing material that implicate persons in criminal matters that are pending before the courts of Trinidad and Tobago,” but at no moment do we believe we were in possible contempt of court. Publication of material linking anyone to a crime before that person is charged or after he is freed cannot constitute a contempt of court, for where there is no case, there is no injustice, for there is no immediate threat to a fair trial.

Is the DPP suggesting that no footage of crime may be published by the media because at some point someone may be charged with being a gang member and that we are not to show the public what is transpiring in the hot spots because of a possible future threat to a trial of someone who is not yet under arrest? This is not the definition of contempt of court and constitutes a gag on media freedom. The threat to a trial must be imminent. You cannot limit the right of the media to publish or the public to know because of what might happen one day down the line to people who are not charged.

In his release, Mr Gaspard referred to some sections of the media purporting to identify some of the persons in the CCTV footage: Media releases in some instances presented criminal profiles of persons and other news reports showed police officers calling upon members of the public to make reports of the crimes shown in the footage “with a view, presumably, to prosecuting suspects that could be identified.” None of this is contempt of court, unless it is related to a specific matter before the court. In his release, Mr Gaspard did not name a single case, which we find decidedly odd because usually when a DPP warns the media to be careful, he refers to a specific matter before the court. It is not a general blanket warning, as this release was. We would like the DPP to name the case or cases imperilled by the footage.

While the onus may be on the DPP, the authority constitutionally in charge of all prosecutions, to enforce the power of protection for defendants, he cannot issue blanket protection for cases yet to come or cases dismissed and it is our duty to publish photos that we believe will save the public from becoming victims of gang members. This paper will continue to publish footage of people involved in criminal activity, once there is no matter before the courts. We support the release of these tapes and the call for the public to assist in capturing these criminals stalking the public.

Everywhere, every day in the world, police place posters with photographs of suspects, which ask the public to assist in their apprehension. How is this different from camera footage of men involved in crime? It is very much in the public interest for the media to show the threats to public safety in these areas, particularly after 21 men have been freed, giving the impression that all is well on Nelson Street when it is not. The police had a right to negate the lie and the media the responsibility to give the other side of the story.

We submit that the footage of crime on Nelson Street (and here) which was released by the National Security Council one day after some men were freed and which showed evidence of possible misdeeds greatly embarrassed and irked the DPP because though the footage was taken long before the Anti-Gang Act was passed, it made the public question his decision to present a no case submission. But the state and the public are free to question his decisions. We wish to remind the DPP of another case, Ambard v AG, in which Lord Atkin stated that “Justice is not a cloistered virtue; she must be allowed to suffer scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments by ordinary men.”

http://www.newsday.co.tt/editorial/0,147439.html

DPP tells ‘office holders’ back off
Back off! This is the strong message being sent by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard to “office holders” regarding the arrest of citizens under the state of emergency. Warning that he would “continue to jealously guard his office at all cost,” Gaspard, in an exclusive interview with Sunday Guardian, said his office would continue to act independently.

***

September 14, 2011

Videos with Nelson Street crimes shown
FOUR video clips displaying criminal activity along Nelson Street, Port of Spain, were yesterday shown as proof that the 21 men released on Monday were not as innocent as they seemed. The video clips [here and here] were shown during a press conference held after a seven-hour-long meeting of the National Security Council. The press conference was held at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair, Port of Spain, yesterday. The Police Service yesterday provided the four video clips obtained from Closed-Circuit cameras located along Nelson Street.

September 15, 2011

Bold and bad
AFTER 21 residents of Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain, were held under the state of emergency for alleged gang membership but then freed due to inadequate evidence, now comes video footage of disturbing crimes committed in that area.

Rowley on showing of Nelson Street video: Disrespect to the DPP
Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley says moves to force police officers to charge people during the state of emergency was a very dangerous precedent.

Nelson Street residents: Videos prove nothing
Residents of Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain seemed unfazed by the release of four video clips on Tuesday which displayed criminal activity along the street.

September 16, 2011

DPP: Don’t publish acts of crime
DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard warned members of the media “to refrain from publishing material that implicate persons in criminal matters that are pending before the courts of Trinidad and Tobago.”

September 17, 2011

AG: Crime videos can lead to detentions
CCTV video footage showing persons apparently committing crimes at Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain, can be used as the basis for the issuing of detention orders, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said yesterday as he called of a “practical” approach to the broadcast of videos showing persons committing crimes.

September 19, 2011

DPP Made Right Move
“The DPP has to do what’s right, and he’s done that,” was Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs’s comment in response to the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision to drop the charges against 21 men from Nelson Street.

8 Responses to “DPP’s Decision”


  • This DPP should be fired! Does the constitution permit the dumping of this incompetent UWI graduate who lacks the intellect to operate in a swift and efficient manner?
    He is a Manning appointee, one of the last relics of the PNM, a washed up lackey, willing to hang on to the last sinking dingy, in a futile attempt to stem the tide of progressive law enforcement.
    This is Kamla’s most urgent need. Rid the country of this prehistoric dinosaur who is standing in the way of effective crime fighting.

  • Constitutional reform is necessary for this office. Obviously the current DPP does not understand the salient points of the law. A video of a public act committed is allowable in the public domain especially if the government want to press their case for public opinion. The men arrested will become a test case for future gang arrest. The Constitution needs to be changed regarding the office of DPP. I would suggest the setting up of three independent offices in North, Central and South to handle cases on a regional basis. Secondly that all DPP decisions come under automatic judicial review by a panel of three retire judges set up by the office of the Chief Justice. That is my two cents worth on the matter. But under the current system things are not working out. Why is Calder still free??? Why is Abu still free??? And why the Nelson street gang still walking free even after clear video evidence of crimes being committed? These are very important question for a young democracy.

  • Give it a rest mamboo, and T-Man , as your over the top , fake law enforcement mantras, is convincing no one whatsoever, with even a modicum of intelligence , much less a brain.
    Who are you kidding, with this dram queen jig and dance. A decade ago , we the free thinking humanist stood up and rightfully condemned racist law enforcement bastards, in big brother America, Canada, and Europe , when they viewed every South Asian, like yourselves ,as some rabid Islamist fundamentalist from the Middle East , India or Pakistan, the day after 9/11.
    Guess what , we will do the same, and stand up to closet tyrants, who wish to run rough shod, over citizens , basic rights , under some misguided guise, of security.
    This media attention seeking operation , is right up their with some of the similar stupid sentiments ,made in big brother Pax Americana, by the Irish comedian Commissioner Kelley , and his millionaire bozo Mayor , in Zoo York, who incidentally ,have done absolutely notting of merit all the while in power , for the people of this city, unless achievements are , running to the Caribbean every week end,with his girl friend , on his private plane, for freakish escapades, and dishing billions, on frequent trips to Israel , naming a bridge to the loquacious, anti Afrikan , political bum ,named Ed Kotch , force feeding cronies on the public , be it regulatory bodies , or education, and condescending pontification to minorities, as he naively forgot that he still is – even ladened with millions.

    http://gothamist.com/2011/09/12/video_cops_daggering_raunchily_at_w.php

    Again ,we know T&T , aka Baby America’s copycat/ mimic leaders, are performing to an audience , as the new aged Iron lady , put on an escapist show ,for ardent fans , but maybe it’s time to get down to business of getting our country back on track. In zoo York, The same guys who are chastising police here , would be applauding them during the Irish , and Jewish day parade, but T&T can ill afford this.

    http://newsfeedresearcher.com/data/articles_n38/cops-officers-parade.html

    Likewise in T&T, life time ,rum drinkers ,and closet bandit, criminal apologists ,for the tribe , want to send low end , over zealous folks ,letting off steam to the gallows, but it won’t work.
    Maybe it’s just me , but just curious folks. Does this PP government ,plans to somehow ,spend it’s entire further 2 to 3 years in office , only looking to do the job of the police , DPP, and the Judiciary branch as a whole , as opposed to attempting, to do something about non existent jobs , and boosting an already stagnant economy, controlled / manipulated by 98% of their financial backers?
    Didn’t Queen K , say she was the next Uncle Obama ?If so , we know that he would have been torn to pieces, and kicked out of office by now , if likewise ,he was putting so much UNWARRANTED energy, into similar nonsense , such as pushing barbarian state of emergency , cuddling incompetent foreign , fake experts, and pushing Basdeo/ Manning ,blatant cronyism, that is in this case , without doubt ,harming business , yes?
    Then , just maybe, we 3rd world peons , possess a much different concept of politics.
    Long live freedom and justice, and long live the Republic of T&T.
    May good sense always prevail.

  • Thank God for a constitution and a Civil Service that puts country before party.

    • The Constitution have to work to protect citizens, not to defend the rights of criminals. Right now the Constitution is doing the opposite. One individual can say “insufficient evidence”, or take 10 years to make a decisions on items that need a faster pace of justice. So criminals walk with excuse such as “shoddy police work” etc.

      What is even worst is that the DPP office is above critic. If the government say you are acting too slowly, it is deem “political interference”. To be sure the DPP office is now working on behalf of criminals. Just ask Calder, Abu, Manning, and a host of criminals who are being “protected” by this office.

      Enough is enough the time has come for Constitutional reform.

  • The Dpp is right you cannot retroactively charge someone for a crime. under statute that was enacted after the commissiom of the offence. Instead of using the gang law, charge those persons for the crime committed e.g. robbery. If their is insufficient evidence, then dont waste the courts time. Monitor the individuals until you get them, its called proper policing techinque.

  • “It was our belief that some of the individuals who appeared on the screens may have been men from Nelson Street who were freed of the charge that they were gang members after the DPP advised the Chief Magistrate that the State had insufficient evidence against them.” MAY HAVE BEEN? You think the Criminal Court is a place for quesswork and speculation. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    The outdated piece of hearsay was shown to DPP Gaspard as lending support against the 21.

    GO AND LOOK FOR ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE and stop trying to brows-beat
    intelligent people. Anyhow, the DPP say all yuh could stuff it and I hope it choke all ah all yuh!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Law does not apply or become defective because the likes of Mamoo and TMan say so. They are pro-PPP whose sole purpose on this blog is to convince first themselves and weak-minded individuals that this government id the best thing since sliced bread. The PPP’s campaign PR is very much at work with these two individuals as propaganists for anything Kamla and Co. I dare remind TMan that Gaspard was rejected by Manning and only on the second or third try did Manning appoint him. When someone acts according to law then there is nothing to fear. I guess they want to hear responsible people act like our fearless AG who is willing to persecute, prosecute, instigate and promote the committment of crime by little people because they look like John Sandy. It is refreshoing to have a public servant whose first and only responsibility is to act in accordance with what is written into law and NOT satisfy the yerarnings of those who woyuld herd people like cattle and put them behinbd bars only because the public is fed up with crime. The rule of law is and should always preeminent and the standards should neveer be lowered because soe idiot wants to look good. Stop the PR campaign!

Comments are currently closed.