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Director of Public Prosecution, Sejilla McDowall in a 2019 iWN file photo.
Director of Public Prosecution, Sejilla McDowall in a 2019 iWN file photo.

Director of Public Prosecution Sejilla McDowall has renewed what she says is a years-long plea that the Police Process Office be assigned a vehicle to help execute their duties.  

She told the closing of the High Court session that she has been making the plea for at least five years.

The police process office is charged with the summoning of witnesses and other such duties involved in the disposal of matters before the nation’s courts.

“I am slightly disheartening that the Commissioner of Police is not able to be here today but he would have heard the pleas of the Office of the DPP for greater support when it comes to having a vehicle extended for process-serving,” McDowall told the court.

“And this is not just for prosecution witnesses but even defendants and their witnesses and assistance to the court would help if there is a dedicated vehicle for that purpose,” McDowall said.  

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“I can’t recall the first time I made this appeal but certainly five years have passed as head of department and I am still making that appeal.”

Police officers assigned to the nation’s court sometimes have to wait for a long time as they try to get assistance from other departments and units of the constabulary to transport prisoners from the Serious Offences Court and the Kingstown Magistrates’ Court to and from the prisons.

Earlier this year, a source approached iWitness News on behalf of officers assigned to the High Court, who sometimes have to use their personal vehicle and money to ensure that summonses are served and witnesses attend court.

McDowall told the court during the Dec. 21 sitting that the real cost of prosecution, “those empirical bits of information is missing from these proceedings but they continue to run high.

“And without the support, necessary fiscal strengthening, we will continue to have those challenges,” the chief prosecutor said.

“We can continue to appeal for wider support outside of government machinery and hopefully there are more partners that will come on board in 2024 to relieve some of the strain,” she told the special sitting over which Justice Brian Cottle presided.

McDowall said that the High Court Criminal Records Officer will be integrated into the Office of the DPP so as to strengthen the Witness Care Unit.