I did not release Hanna ruling to the media, says DPP

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I did not release Hanna ruling to the media, says DPP

Monday, July 06, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has responded to media reports on a rulingregarding People's National Party Member of Parliamentfor St Ann South East Lisa Hanna, who has been facing criticisms over resurfaced claims of corruption in the handling of constituency funds.

In a media statement a short while ago,Llewellyn noted that the Gleaner and one other media house had access to the contents of a ruling on the matter from her office.

The DPP said this is not customary as the ruling is aconfidential document.

She said a request for ruling was referred to the ODPP by then acting Director of Corruption Prosecution at the Integrity Commission Mr Dirk Harrison and returned in July 2019 to that office.

"I did not as is the ODPP's usual practice disclose the contents of the ruling to anyone save and except Mr Harrison and copied to Mr Justice Karl Harrison (former Chairman of the Integrity Commission), Major General Antony Anderson (Commission of Police) and Mr Fitz Bailey (Deputy Commissioner of Police)," said Llewellyn.

"To clear the record, I did not release the document to any media house," she added.

See DPP's statement in full:

Reference is made to the Monday, July 06, 2020 Gleaner Editorial entitled 'Late Revelation of Hanna Ruling Unfortunate'.

I wish to clarify the protocols of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) regarding rulings or advice in light of the Editorial in The Gleaner where the editor indicated that he/she is 'a little disappointed at the timing of the emergence – a full year after its delivery'.

Currently, the ODPP interfaces with many Departments and Agencies on a continuous basis seeking advice and guidance on legal and procedural issues, collaboration on various operational matters and support in relation to advocacy and court appearances. The advice sought and received is termed a 'ruling' when statements and other documentary evidentiary material have been received and a written opinion is thereafter prepared by the ODPP outlining the allegations and issues and provides in some cases of complexity a reasoned conclusion with the necessary recommendations. This ruling is then sent to the requesting body for them to utilise as required. It is a confidential document that is to be sent only to the requesting entity and copied to interested parties where necessary. Consequently, our Office continues to work with all entities in the spirit of cooperation in order to ensure that all rulings can be dealt with in an expeditious manner. As a matter of protocol, I do not disclose the contents of a ruling unless there is a need in the public space to clarify the record subsequent to its disclosure to the requesting party.

The Lisa Hanna/St Ann Municipal Corporation request for ruling was referred to the ODPP by then acting Director of Corruption Prosecution at the Integrity Commission Mr Dirk Harrison and returned in July 2019 to that office. I did not as is the ODPP's usual practice disclose the contents of the ruling to anyone save and except Mr Harrison and copied to Mr Justice Karl Harrison (former Chairman of the Integrity Commission), Major General Antony Anderson (Commission of Police) and Mr Fitz Bailey (Deputy Commissioner of Police). It is the requesting office's prerogative to so disclose the contents of the ruling in any manner as deemed appropriate by tabling a report in Parliament or through a press release.

I note the comments in The Gleaner that the 'the DPPs declarations, including her remarks relating to the behaviour of the municipal government, were not in the public domain a year ago so that issues surrounding Ms Hanna's actions might have been debated in their own right'. In fact to my surprise I observed that The Gleaner and one other media house had access to the contents of the ruling. To clear the record, I did not release the document to any media house. I only mentioned the fact of the ODPP having prepared the ruling in July 2019, on Mrs Emily Shields' radio programme 'Hotline' to clear up a misperception in the public space that nothing had happened in relation to the referral of the matter to the ODPP.

I hope that this brief statement has shed light on what may have been any misperceptions to the protocols of the ODPP regarding contents of rulings.


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