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Williams: No one should benefit from drug offences or money laundering

Williams: No one should benefit from drug offences or money laundering
Director of the Regional Security System’s Asset Recovery Unit, Grenville Williams. (GP)

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People who have committed drug or money laundering offences should not have an opportunity to benefit from their crime.

This was the view of Director of the Regional Security System’s Asset Recovery Unit (RSS ARU), Grenville Williams, as he recently delivered remarks at a closing ceremony for a Drug Prosecution Course for police officers from RSS Member States.

Williams issued a call for the officers to work in collaboration with other law enforcement officials in an effort to deprive offenders of any possible benefits.

“Let us do our job in an efficient fashion by incorporating proceeds of crime and asset recovery as an integral component of our investigations and prosecutions. Seizing and destroying illegal drugs, imposing fines or custodial sentences on a person are important but we can ensure that these individuals’ nefarious activities are disrupted and they are dissuaded from continuing their life of crime by aggressively targeting the trophies obtained from crime,” the Director asserted.

He also advised the future prosecutors that there were other important qualities that should be adopted as they sought justice.

“Your continuous professional development must be coupled with dedication, commitment, high ethical standards and an unwavering quest to apply the highest level of professionalism to your daily engagements… Always be willing to share your knowledge and experiences, be open to learning from others, while at all times, remembering that which we do involves and impacts real flesh and blood human beings, whether these persons are victims of drug abuse, the perpetrators or facilitators through money laundering or other means,” Williams saidd.

Also sharing those sentiments was High Court Judge, Justice Christopher Birch, who stated that one of the important qualities of a court prosecutor was the ability to listen. He noted that misheard evidence would determine if a trial was a success or a failure.

“Listen to the officers who brief you on the evidence and prepare the files. Listen to the witnesses who need your guidance and support. Listen to the victim of crime who needs to know that you know what you are doing. Listen to the judicial officer who will rely upon you to repeat or clarify something said or done. Above all, listen to your gut instinct,” Birch advised.

He further pointed out that prosecutors should remain focused on their main goal which is to “search for justice”.

“No prosecutor I ever met wanted to solely lock up everyone, all wanted to achieve the result of exposure of truth without fear or favour. Seek above all to uncover the truth when you’re conducting your case. Do not conceal evidence that is adverse to your case… Do not reveal evidence that serves to solely embarrass the witness or the accused but does not assist the case,” the High Court Judge warned.

Birch   appealed to the officers to use the knowledge gained as a “springboard to higher opportunities” and challenged them to move on to the next level as legal practitioners if they desired. (PR)