15 Jun 2010

Call in Vanuatu for a qualified, committed Public Prosecutor

9:17 am on 15 June 2010

Transparency International in Vanuatu says the Public Prosecutor's Office is dysfunctional and the Government has to take action.

This comes after recent confirmation 41 serious criminal cases, including charges of rape, were struck out by the Magistrates Court at the end of 2008, because the Public Prosecutor had failed to proceed in a timely manner.

There are also other serious crimes coming before the court five years after the offences have been committed.

TI's president, Marie Noelle Ferrieux Patterson, says there is a look of political interference, with a close relative of a senior member of Cabinet typically appointed Public Prosecutor.

She says the present holder rarely attends court and is often away from the office.

"She should be questioned after a certain number of days away from the office without any excuse, but nothing is ever said, nothing is ever mentioned, no one is ever challenged, so the worry is there and we really want to see a strong Public Prosecutor's Office and we want someone appointed who can do the job and is willing to do the job."