The Chamber of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has disposed of a total of 195 criminal cases in the High Court during the course of 2018.According to the Chamber in a release on Friday, 129 of cases received attention in the court, while the other 66 matters were nolle prosequi by the DPP.Of these 129 cases, 90 were presented in the Demerara Assizes, 27 in the Berbice Assizes and 12 in the Essequibo Assizes.There were 54 murder cases, 13 for attempt murder, five for manslaughter, 15 cases for rape, another 15 for sexual activity with a child family member, 23 cases of rape of a child under 15 years, and one case each for the offences of carnal knowledge of a girl under 15 years, causing death by dangerous driving and wounding with intent.From these 129 cases, there were 147 accused persons; 34 of whom pleaded guilty, 50 of them were convicted while formal verdicts of not guilty were delivered in relation to 18 of these persons. Additionally, there were 25 not guilty verdicts by jury, six hung verdicts, and one aborted trial, mistrial and quashed indictment each.2019 will commence with the opening of the Criminal Assizes in Demerara on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. There are 260 cases listed to be heard during that session, which will see Justice James Bovell-Drakes, Justice Navindra Singh and Madam Justice Jo-Ann Barlow presiding.Meanwhile, the October Assizes will continue in Berbice until the February 2019 Criminal Assizes commence on Tuesday, February 12, 2019. On the other hand, the October Assizes in Essequibo will also continue until the next session, which opens on February 5, 2019.During 2018, the DPP also appeared in 57 matters in the Court of Appeal. In these 57 matters, the State was represented by DPP, Shalimar Ali-Hack; Deputy DPP (ag) Sonia Joseph; Assistant DPP Dionne McCammon; Assistant DPP Teshana Lake; Assistant DPP Diana O’Brien; Senior State Counsel Stacy Goodings; Senior State Counsel Natasha Backer; Senior State Counsel Mercedes Glasford; State Counsel Narissa Leander; State Counsel Tuana Hardy; State Counsel Shawnette Austin; State Counsel Tameika Clarke, and State Counsel Seeta Bishundial.Of these 57 appeals, 24 appellants were granted their applications – seven were for retrials while 17 appellants had their sentences and convictions varied and commuted. Additionally, 13 other applications for bail pending appeal were denied and four other applications for bail pending appeal were granted. There was also one fine imposed and another three applications for extension of time to file and serve notice of appeal were granted.Furthermore, six appellants withdrew their applications to appeal and one matter was struck out. The court did not convene in one case because the registrar informed that the appellant had died. One appellant who appealed his life sentence had his appeal allowed in so far as the stipulation of calendar years.In another case, the State appealed the decision of the Chief Justice’s decision that the Sexual Offences Act is unconstitutional as it does not permit cross examination of prosecution witness, including complainants, the Court ruled that the committal was valid and awarded cost in the sum of $75,000 to the State. Meanwhile, two appeals are pending.2018 also saw the Demerara Full Court sitting 19 times during which one matter was dismissed because the court ruled it had no jurisdiction to hear the matter. However, seven appellants were allowed to appeal their conviction and sentence while five others were dismissed.Additionally, one application for bail pending appeal for extension of time to file Notice of Appeal was granted. Three Appellants also withdrew their appeals, while another two had their applications to appeal against conviction and sentence granted in part, one had his sentence reduced to 30 hours of community service and the other had his conviction affirmed but sentence varied.Moreover, State Counsel Stacy Gooding and Tuana Hardy appeared in the Berbice Full Court during the month of June and that matter was struck out.
DPP disposes of 195 cases in 2018