THE OFFICE of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is asking the Court of Appeal to clarify whether judges or magistrates can uphold no-case submissions in cases where witnesses turn hostile.
The prosecution says that should be a question for the jury to determine.
The issue is at the core of an appeal filed by the DPP’s office against a judge’s decision in 2011 to uphold a no-case submission which led to a man accused of murder being acquitted.
In 2011, a judge upheld a no-case submission on behalf of Kurlan “Miceman” George, who was on trial for the 2006 murder of Andrew “Bellies” John.
George, allegedly a gang leader, from St Joseph, was gunned down in 2017 after being ambushed as he went to sign the register at the police station in the area.
In his ruling, the judge said the evidence of the eyewitness to the shooting was discredited after being declared as hostile.
Assistance DPP George Busby said the issue was a “vexing” question for prosecutors, as every day they face defence attorneys who want judges and magistrates to have the leeway to stop cases on a no-case submission.
The appeal is being heard by Justices Alice Yorke-Soo Hon, Prakash Moosai and Mark Mohammed who asked for written submissions to be filed. Before putting the matter back on the cause-list, the judges also asked for a member of the Criminal Bar Association to be present for the hearing of the appeal.
Also appearing for the DPP’s office is prosecutor Mauricia Joseph.