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Mary Francis Welcomes Robert Innocent’s Special Prosecutor Appointment

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Human Rights activist Mary Francis has welcomed the appointment of Robert Innocent as Special Prosecutor, hoping he would be independent in carrying out his duties.

“I have known Mr. Innocent for the longest while. I think he has performed his duties quite competently as a Magistrate and also as a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions ,” Francis told St. Lucia Times.

She expected him to demonstrate the same competence in his new role and be impartial.

Francis recalled that Innocent sat as a Coroner in the case of the ‘Vieux Fort Five’ – five men the police shot dead during an operation in 2011.

The officers were allegedly intercepting a robbery.

“I must say that was the only inquest in that time where there was transparency among the twelve killings we had between 2010-2011,” Francis, the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights Coordinator, asserted.

The outspoken Attorney at Law said the other inquests did not meet the standard for transparency, accountability, and determining the truth regarding what occurred.

Francis felt that Innocent would do well based on his track record.

Nevertheless, she hoped there would be no political interference.

“Wherever the corruption takes place, no matter who the person is, the person has to face prosecution in accordance with the legislation,” she told St. Lucia Times.

But she noted that Saint Lucia has had an Integrity Commission for years, and the Special Prosecutor post would impose a further state expense.

Francis also observed a pressing need for other institutions to ensure democracy and human rights.

The Human Rights Activist said she was concerned that Saint Lucia has no National Commission of Human Rights.

He said the state commits many human rights abuses.

“Where is the avenue for remedy?” Francis declared.

Saint Lucia’s Special Prosecutor Act empowers an attorney-at-law appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission to serve as Special Prosecutor.

The legislation authorises the Office holder to receive complaints and investigate credible reports of corrupt conduct by incumbent public officials and public officials who have demitted office.

Headline photos Mary Francis (Courtesy The STAR St. Lucia) and Robert Innocent (Courtesy HTS News).

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5 COMMENTS

  1. If Saint Lucia had an integrity commission for years, then it appears the integrity commission has been getting paid from the public purse while doing nothing or accomplishing nothing as they were commissioned to do….at least that is what I garner from what Mary Francis is alleging. Again, systems in Saint Lucia are stagnant and therein lies the problem. When a country have systems that does not function, then that country becomes stuck….see how long it takes at the passport office, or even the banks with the long lines. Systems put in place are supposed to work and work efficiently in order for a country to move forward….now special prosecutor bring on the inquisition and let the people know who the corrupt ones are in our midst…

  2. Correction 5 murderers, 4 shot dead one died at hospital I don’t know how news said he was shot in his leg and was in stable condition justice have been served

  3. I’ve heard great things about this gentleman and if he continues to do so then we also have to have proper investigators because he is still handicap regardless of the facts or not the investors have to do an excellent work so that it can bring results to the table. He Innocent is just one leg, lagging on matters, calling in sick, going on sick leave, emergency medical assistance are parameters where the legal systems become handicap. Our system is notorious for this, if you have to collect an important payment from treasury and they wanted to delay payments for any reason the approval person automatically get diarrhea and you become in the ocean with a sandbag tie to your feet. So irrespective of this prestigious SP, I hope he can also interject and say look I believe you are purposely dragging this investigation on, and your effort is circumventing my position, therefore placing my integrity, credibility and others on the line.

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