New UG legal certificate programme will balance the scale of justice – AG

The government has devised a new prosecutors’ programme to strengthen and balance the scales of Guyana’s justice system. To ensure victims of criminal offences benefit from effective representation, the Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Attorney General Chambers has collaborated with the University of Guyana (UG) to launch the new ‘Certificate in Advocacy and Evidence for Summary Courts Prosecutors’ programme.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, told DPI that the programme will revolutionise prosecution in Guyana, balancing the scales of justice.

Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC

“This has been going on for decades and what we have found is that the level of representation is not balanced and many times victims of crime and the state’s legal interests and indeed the public’s interest are not adequately represented, simply because on the one hand you have an untrained legal mind, a police officer prosecuting, and on the other hand you have a seasoned experienced lawyer appearing.”

The course will benefit 35 persons with a Bachelor’s Degree in law (LLB) from UG who did not further their legal education at one of the regional law schools in the Caribbean.

Participants will receive basic prosecution training, to represent the state’s interest effectively. Among the areas of training are criminal procedures, criminal law and evidence finding.

Upon completion, participants will operate as part of the prosecutorial arm of the state under the constitutional supervision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The course is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through Support for the Criminal Justice System (SCJS) Programme, with the intent of having a trained prosecutor at every magistrate’s court.

AG Nandlall said the course will play an important role in revamping Guyana’s justice system, providing citizens with better legal representation.

I believe that it will have a significant impact on the criminal justice system. I believe that victims of crime, I believe that the state’s interest, I believe that public interests in criminal proceedings will be better served if we have more qualified persons in the form and type that I am referring to, are there representing the state’s interest along with police officers.”

Additionally, a large quantity of computers and printers will be donated to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to replace handwritten statements by ranks.

The equipment will be utilised by police officers, investigators and prosecutors implementing an efficient, credible and accurate criminal justice system. Persons interested in applying for the course can do so on the University of Guyana’s website. The application process will conclude on February 24, 2022.