BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - MANY people are waiting with bated breath as a war of words is developing in the justice arena on who has responsibility for making the decision on whether to lay charges against a sitting Minister of Government.
This situation involves the Minister of Tourism, Lindsay Grant, to whom allegations were levelled following an altercation at the Last Lap Bar in the Bird Rock area on Saturday, January 8, 2022.
Commissioner of Police Hilroy Brandy and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Valston Graham are at loggerheads over who is responsible for filing or not filing charges against the Minister.
When asked for an update on the situation at the Prime Minister’s last press conference, the Top Cop said: “Police have investigated this matter and the file has been submitted to the Director of Prosecution, who is the competent authority on these matters.”
The DPP has since responded and indicated that he had given advice and returned the file to police.
He went a step further noting that, “As DPP, I AM NOT the Competent Authority to decide whether the Honourable Lindsay Grant should be charged with obstruction, assault and battery offences. That is simply a matter for the police, and are offences, which they charge daily without my input.”
The DPP also said in a media statement: “There are some specific offences, where my written consent is required before the police can charge an individual. The allegations against the Honourable Lindsay Grant does not fall within those categories of offences,” now the ball has been thrown back to Commissioner Brandy to make a determination.
“In keeping with the ODPP’s role to support the RSCNPF in their investigation of criminal offences, today, in a written opinion, I have advised Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hilroy Brandy on the merits of prosecution in the matter involving the Honourable Lindsay Grant and three police officers, which took place on January 8, 2022. It is now for the Commissioner of Police to decide whether to act upon my advice. It is and has always been within the powers of the police whether to charge Mr. Grant. It is not and was never a matter for my determination.”
According to the DPP, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) can “make recommendations to the Royal Saint Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF) and other Law Enforcement Agencies to prosecute individuals, or if there is insufficient evidence to mount a viable prosecution, advise them accordingly”.
“The RSKNPF nevertheless retain primacy of decision-making in whether to arrest, charge and place any matter before the court,” added the DPP
This is the first time that the probable charges have been revealed to the public.
In January, a video was making rounds across the Federation with footages that showed three Police Officers - two males and one female - were relaxing and talking while the individual who was recording them questioned “how government employees act in St. Kitts”.
The female officer then made a call to her superiors, complaining of the manner in which “a Minister” is behaving while they provide security at a party in the Last Lap Bar in Bird Rock.