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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 94523 Find in a Library
Title: Promotion of Innovation for Effective, Efficient and Fair Administration of Criminal Justice (From Resource Material Series Number 24, P 42-48, 1983 - See NCJ-94520)
Author(s): S C Maharaj
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 7
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United Nations
Annotation: An examination of the public prosecutor's role in Fiji outlines the establishment of the public prosecution system, discretionary prosecution, preprosecution diversion, and reform in trial procedure and laws of evidence.
Abstract: As a British Crown Colony until 1970, Fiji based its criminal justice system on the British system of adversarial justice. The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has exclusive authority over all criminal prosecutions. DPP's can dismiss charges, delegate authority to any legal officer to be a Crown Counsel, appoint barristers and solicitors as public prosecutors, and oversee police prosecutions before magistrates courts. The DPP's discretionary powers are extensive and include the right to determine whether (1) the prosecution would be in the best interest of all parties if the case involves young children as witnesses, (2) the law is unpopular and the public opinion is against enforcement, and (3) a prosecution would bring disproportionate consequences to the accused who has a good character and reputation. The most recent development of preprosecution diversion includes establishment of a juvenile bureau, 'safety first' warnings to first driving offenders, and decriminalization of minor offenses such as begging, pestering, indecency, indecent or obscene language, loitering and spitting, and certain motor vehicle offenses. While the present British penal code and other laws do not give any force or recognition to customary laws of Fiji, enactment of some of these customary laws could augment preprosecution diversion. Current opinion favors abolishing voire dire (trial within trial) for challenged statements made by the accused to ensure speedy and equitable trials.
Index Term(s): Decriminalization; Fiji Islands; Prosecutorial discretion; Prosecutorial diversion; Youth Services Bureau
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