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DPP renews call for prosecutors to be given power to appeal verdicts

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn is renewing her call for her office to be given the right to appeal verdicts.

The call follows last week's decision in which a Westmoreland jury freed an alleged bigamist despite what appeared to have been compelling evidence.

Presiding Judge Martin Gayle told the jurors that they returned what he called a disgraceful verdict, noting that the evidence supported a guilty verdict for pastor, Ian Samuels.

The DPP says the case highlights the hindrance faced by prosecutors.

Meanwhile, Justice Gayle has ordered an investigation to determine if the jurors were tainted.

The DPP says if the investigation reveals any unlawful act, only a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice could be leveled against a juror or other persons.

The DPP is maintaining that efforts to force legislative changes could be hampered by a Parliament dominated by defence lawyers.

She says the public must determine whether the legal background of the lawmakers is prejudicing how local laws change.

Last year, the Government announced that the prosecutors will be given a limited right of appeal under circumstances where its believed that sentences are manifestly inadequate, unduly lenient or where a lower court cannot impose an appropriate sentence.

The Jamaican Bar Association has said some lawyers fear that government prosecutors could abuse the right and it could lead to prolonged cases.

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