The Government of the Republic of Nauru

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Office of the Director of Public Prosecution

 

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) continues to perform its role under its mandate, pursuant to Section 45 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1972 which is generally to represent the Republic in criminal proceedings.

 

As a Section within the DJBC, the ODPP functions in harmony with the overall Strategic Framework for the Department whereby its purpose statement is:

 

The ODPP reviews and where appropriate prosecutes criminal cases following investigations by police, fisheries and other relevant agencies and instrumentalities. They are also charged with advising police and other departments in matters relating to criminal offences. They consider whether there is sufficient evidence and assess the public interest related to the matter in order to determine a requirement for prosecution.

 

During the reporting period, the ODPP has prosecuted a number of 30 criminal cases resulting in 18 convictions and 12 acquittals.

 

There are 24 cases at the District Court of Nauru and 38 cases at the Supreme Court of

Nauru that are pending to be heard and determined.

 

Three criminal cases on appeal have been heard and resolved at the Supreme Court  and one is pending. Five appeal cases remain pending at the Nauru Court of Appeal and one is yet to be listed.

 

The latter part of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 saw a significant increase of remand applications which indicates the increase in bail of applications. This is attributed to the amendment to the Bail Act 2018 which lists bailable offences that require proof of the existence of 'exceptional circumstances'. Seven cases are subject to pre-trial bail applications whilst one bail application is pending appeal.

 

The most prevalent offences that are seen in the trend of criminal statistics are  intentionally causing serious harm and attempted murder.

 

In late April 2021, ODPP welcomed a new fleet of expatriate prosecutors to the team. They were admitted to the Nauruan Bar on 18 May 2021 and recently appeared in the Supreme Court of Nauru for the first time. The lawyers bring with them over two decades of combined criminal prosecution experience that will benefit our criminal justice system.

 

 

Our Team

 

Position Name
Director of Public Prosecutions Ronald Talasasa
Principal Public Prosecutor Vacant
Senior Public Prosecutor Francis Diloi
Public Prosecutor Saif Shah
Pledger (Prosecution) Vacant
Paralegal (Prosecution) Kori Itsimaera

 

 

Objectives

 

  • To represent the Republic in criminal proceedings.

 

 

Motivation

 

Prosecution is criminal deterrence.

 

 

Strategic Plan Priority Area 4: Cost Cutting Sectors

 

Cross-Goal 1

Strengthen Parliament, audit, justice, law, order and border control.

 

 

Achievements

 

ODPP Handbook

 

ODPP is working on its Handbook for the Office of the Director for Public Prosecutions which will set out the general principles for the initiation and conduct of criminal prosecutions. Over the recent years, there have been substantive reforms of the criminal justice system. This includes changes to legislation, case law, procedures and policies. The Handbook will ensure fair and effective prosecution that aims to maintain law and order and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system.

 

Pacific Island Law Officers Network

 

Nauru is a member of the Pacific Island's Law Officer's Network (PILON) along with 19 other Pacific Island countries. PILON's strategic plan for 2019 to 2021 include action plans involving corruption, cybercrime and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) which all have specific working groups. Nauru is an active member of all 3.

 

The Cybercrime Working Group has developed the PILON Mutual Assistance Handbook: Cybercrime & Electronic Evidence relating to obtaining material through mutual legal assistance relating to criminal proceedings in one country at the request of another.

 

The SGBV Working Group is currently developing explanatory material for the Model Provisions on special measures for vulnerable witnesses that were developed in 2019.

 

The Corruption Working Group have published the 'Framework for Prosecuting Corruption in the Pacific: Experiences, Challenges and Lessons Learnt.'

 

 

Way Forward

 

  • The ODPP aims to complete the Handbook for the Office of the Director for Public Prosecutions  by the end of 2021  so that it can be utilised to enhance efforts of maintaining a robust criminal justice system and improve procedures where required.
  • It will strive to continue working with its counterparts from the region through the PILON program to develop an appropriate legislative framework in relation to Cybercrime, SGBV and anti-corruption.