Saint Lucia police have urged victims of theft to resort to judicial action, since it would serve as a ‘deterrent for re-offending’.
The advice came from Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) with Responsibility for Operations, George Nicholas, after officers recovered motor vehicles reported stolen from various locations.
Four vehicles were recovered over a 24-hour period.
In two of the cases, the virtual complainants declined pursuing court action against the suspects, according to a police press release.
However ACP Nicholas reported that in two other instances where vehicles were recovered, the virtual complainants did indicate an interest in court action, for which he applauded them.
According to the police, all four vehicles were recovered intact and returned to their owners.
ACP Nicholas, in encouraging the pursuit of judicial action, observed that it was necessary to commence the process of prosecution.
“If the case is already before the court and let us say something happens to the virtual complainant, let us say he is dead or overseas and cannot be found – in those cases the matter can still go forward if it is already before the court,” Nicholas told St Lucia Times.
But he noted that if the matter is not already before the court, it cannot be pursued without a virtual complainant
The senior cop explained that a virtual complainant was needed to start the process in cases such as theft of property and assault, but not in cases of murder.
One of the vehicle owners who declined to pursue court action after the stolen car was found told St Lucia Times that the decision not to press the matter was because of a lack of faith in the court system.
It was explained that the way the court system currently functions, includes long delays and adjournments that can frustrate a quest for justice.
According to the car owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the stolen vehicle was recovered intact and that is what matters.