by Linda Straker
- Hood’s suggestion stems from brawl onboard Harbour Master
- DPP’s exercise of constitutional discretion to discontinue criminal proceedings cannot be interfered with according to Section 71(6) of the Constitution
One of Grenada’s constitutional lawyers has described the announcement made by Cajeton Hood to investigate the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as antithetical to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution of Grenada.
Dr Francis Alexis was responding to the call by Hood for the Prime Minister of Grenada to investigate the DPP Christopher Nelson QC for discontinuing private criminal charges brought by clients of Hood regarding Anderson Peters.
Advising Derick Sylvester, the lawyer on record for Peters, Dr Alexis — a former attorney general for Grenada — said that the Director of Public Prosecutions in the exercise of his constitutional discretion to discontinue criminal proceedings, by whomsoever brought it to the court, cannot be interfered with.
“This Hoodian suggestion,” Alexis pointed out, is antithetical to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution of Grenada. For, Alexis explained, in the exercise by the DPP of his discretion to prosecute, not to prosecute, or discontinue a prosecution brought by anybody else, section 71(6) of the Constitution ordains that The Director of Public Prosecutions shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority,” said a release from the office of Dr Alexis.
“This protective shield cast around the DPP by section 71(6) cannot be penetrated in the Hoodian way, that of having the Prime Minister investigate the exercise by the DPP of his prosecutorial discretion. Indeed, the idea of the Prime Minister so investigating the DPP is heresy to the Constitution of Grenada,” said Dr Alexis.
He further explained that not even the Courts would interfere with the exercise by the DPP of his discretion in the flippant way advocated by Hood. “The Courts, especially the Privy Council, unwaveringly emphasise that it would be rather rare for the Courts to interfere with the DPP in the exercise of his prosecutorial discretion. The Constitution makes the DPP’s discretion wide and unstructured,” said the release.
“What is worse is that, regarding the events about which Mr Hood wants the Prime Minister to investigate the DPP, certain persons, with Mr Hood as their lawyer, pleaded guilty in Court to every charge laid against them as to the violence, even grievous harm, inflicted by them on Anderson Peters. In all the circumstances, Mr Hood’s protestations regarding the violent mistreatment handed out by his clients to Anderson Peters are, therefore, entirely without any foundation whatsoever,” Alexis added.
Hood’s suggestion for an investigation into the action of the DPP stems from a matter involving a brawl onboard the Harbour Master, a pleasure cruise vessel. The brawl involved the crew and Anderson Peters and his brother Kiddon. The crew eventually was charged for causing harm and they pleaded guilty to the summary charge. The magistrate charged each crew member EC$5,500. However, Hood then turned around and filed private criminal charges in the magistrate court. The DPP using his power to discontinue any case, filed a nolle prosequi.