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Witness protection
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The National Prosecution Service in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has welcomed the decision of the court to commit a man to stand trial for murder in a case in which the identity of a key witness was completely withheld.

The recently completed preliminary inquiry into the Sept. 29, 2015 murder of Dennis Quintyn at his New Montrose home saw juridical history being created in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

It was the first time that the identity of a witness, including name, appearance, address and voice was withheld or masked.

The witnesses testified remotely on Aug. 4, and Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias handed down her ruling on Aug. 7, committing Denneke Billingy to stand trial for murder.

Senior Prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche spoke highly of the Witness (Special Measures) Act, the piece of legislation that made the development possible.

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“This is a good piece of legislation where the persons who, before now, may have felt intimidated to come forward and give evidence, they are now being protected by this piece of legislation,” he told iWitness News.

“I hope it will help to boost their confidence and [help them to] be assured that they can give evidence under total anonymity, where their identity, even their names, would not be disclosed — their address, all those things will not be disclosed.”

Delplesche said there are checks and balances in the law to ensure that the provision is not abused.

“… when the application is made, … the prosecution will present to the court what they have and their reasons for making the application and then there will be a hearing in which the defence can challenge the application. So it is not automatic that the application would be granted.”

The prosecutor said that he is confident that the Crown has a strong case to present to a jury when the case goes to trial.

“I am satisfied. I am satisfied,” he told iWitness News and praised the work of the lead detective in the case, Corporal Biorn Duncan.

“Corporal Duncan, again, in my view, did some good work in this investigation.  That’s the most I will say for now,” Delplesche said.