Antigua and Barbuda’s Director of Public Prosecution Anthony Armstrong should be removed from the position entirely. Well, that’s according to Former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Justin Simon KC.
Simon who was a guest on Observer’s morning program said it would not be in the best interest of the country to have the DPP returned to his office after his criminal proceedings in Jamaica.
Armstrong was arrested in Jamaica on Saturday on fraud-related charges stemming from the sale of three properties some 18 years ago.
Simon told listeners that even if Armstrong is exonerated public perception is crucial.
“If of course he is found guilty then that is out of the question, but if he is found innocent in respect of the matter, there is always the public perception, and on that basis, I do not think it would be in the interest of the country or he in his own personal interest to return to that position”.
“And hopefully the Judicial and Legal Service Commission will look on that matter and make a determination because the Constitution makes it very clear that the Governor General appoints the DPP in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission and will also diss-appoint that individual based upon the advice of the Commission,” Simon said.
He noted that the function of the Commission is critical in such a matter.
“So the Commission has a role and duty to perform and what is important is the perception to members of the public and I think that is what we have to bear in mind, that must be taken into consideration.
“The DPP’s role is to prosecute for a criminal offense. Would you want a person who has been accused of criminal offenses to be in that particular role. Are members of the public going to be satisfied in respect to that. Does it look good?” he questioned, adding “we need to look at that very seriously.”
In Armstrong’s absence, Attorney at Law Shannon Jones-Gittens will take up the role of Acting DPP.
Armstrong who is out on $500,000 bail will return to a Jamaica court on November 10.