September 22, 2020

Legal costs awarded against Cayman Islands DPP

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Cayman Law CourtsBy Peter Polack

The Cayman Islands Government treasury has taken another hit with a ruling in October last year by Justice Richard Williams that the Crown by way of the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Cayman Islands Government were liable for the legal costs of a an accused person whose case was dismissed by the Courts.

Aaron Bernardo had been charged with robbery and firearm offences in January 2013.

On 16th August 2013 some seven months after the original arrest and charges as the defence dismissal application drew near the DPP indicated that they would not be pursuing those charges.

In September the DPP filed a single charge of handling stolen goods and the accused was found not guilty by a jury in December 2013.

The accused had been held in custody without bail which was opposed on several occasions by the DPP from 8 January 2013 until 13 March 2013 when the Chief Justice granted bail.

In August 2014 the now freed Bernardo applied for reasonable legal costs as he was not on legal aid.

Justice Williams stated: “ I am satisfied that the Applicant has incurred costs in relation to the first indictment post March 2013 until the dismissal hearing in August 2013. It was not reasonable for the Crown to wait until the hearing in August 2013, in light of the additional evidence received”

It is unknown if there has been any assessment of likely claims of this kind that may be made against the DPP and the Cayman Islands Government.

The office of the DPP was represented by Candia James.

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