(b) The power to take over criminal proceedings instituted by others

As mentioned before Clerks of Court are empowered by Section 288 of the Judicature (Resident Magistrates) Act to be the prosecuting authorities in the RM Court. Private individuals or other authorities may associate themselves with the prosecution as long as they are in possession of a fiat from the DPP.

The DPP as supreme prosecuting authority may intervene at any time, remove the conduct of the prosecution from the Clerk or the individual and take over the case. This was evidenced in the case of Raymond v Attorney General (1982) 75 Cr. App. R. 34.  The Court[1] made the following findings:

  1. That the DPP will intervene in a private prosecution where the issues in the public interest are so grave that the resources and expertise of the Director’s office should be brought to bear in order to ensure that the proceedings are properly conducted from the point of view of the prosecution.
  1. That there may be what appears to the DPP, substantial reasons in the public interest for not pursuing a private prosecution once commenced.  
  1. When the DPP intervenes in a prosecution privately instituted he may do so not exclusively for the purpose of pursuing it by carrying it on, but also with the object of aborting it.   

The only challenge to the DPP’s powers in such circumstances is that the exercise of his powers was such that it could not be honestly and reasonably arrived at.



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