The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Jane Frances Abodo has launched the “Decision to Charge Guidelines 2023,” a comprehensive framework aimed at assisting prosecutors in making informed decisions regarding the charges brought against accused persons.
The guidelines not only delineate the essential functions and responsibilities of prosecutors concerning the initiation of charges and the management of criminal proceedings but also emphasize the significance of these roles.
Speaking during the launch, Abodo underscored the critical role of prosecutors as gatekeepers to the criminal justice system.
She emphasized that the decision to charge and prosecute carries profound implications, affecting suspects, victims, witnesses, and the community at large.
The introduction of the guidelines comes at a time when the Office of the DPP has faced occasional criticism for rushing to prefer charges against individuals.
This has led to instances where suspects are either acquitted by the courts due to insufficient evidence or where the DPP withdraws charges after individuals have spent years in detention.
Abodo emphasized the importance of a thorough review of case files before authorizing charges and the need for expedited resolution of issues when cases are referred back to the police to prevent unnecessary delays or dismissals.
The Decision to Charge Guidelines 2023 provides comprehensive information on the charging process, the requisite materials before charges can be filed, the standards and threshold tests to be met prior to preferring charges, case types requiring prosecutorial involvement in investigations, and the framework for granting bail.