A considerable number of criminal cases — some more serious in nature — are being dismissed in the Magistrate’s Court.
The matters are being thrown out of court for ‘want of prosecution’, which typically is a conclusion that the Crown has inexcusably delayed moving the matter along.
Chief among the reasons the court has been concluding that there is a ‘want of prosecution’ is that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution has been unable to locate the relevant files for these now-dismissed court cases.
The DPP’s office is the agency that largely prosecutes accused criminals on behalf of the Commissioner of Police.
“The Crown wants to have its cake and eat it too,” a seemingly annoyed Magistrate Shawn Innocent said last week when he had to dismiss a number of matters for want of prosecution.
Just this week, Magistrate Innocent was made to complain further about the issue.
“This is occurring too frequently,” he said. “This is not acceptable. Crown prosecutors walking (coming to court) with no files makes absolutely no sense.”
A BVI News tally has shown that at least two dozen matters were dismissed in the last two weeks alone.
Dismissed matters over that period include one case of forgery, two matters relating to possession of a controlled drug, and another two for possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply.
There was also at least one dismissed common assault case, two cases of armed with an offensive weapon, one wounding, two assault occasioning actual bodily harm, one indecent assault, one threatening language matter, and one theft.
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