Through Nov. 15, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had secured 152 convictions and seen 94 acquittals in the Magistrates’ Court in 2022, DPP Tiffany Scatliffe-Esprit told legislators during the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee deliberations last month.

In the High Court, she said, the office had secured 25 convictions but had also seen seven “non-convictions” and two appeals, according to a report on the closed-door SFC proceedings held from Dec. 1-7.

In the Court of Appeal, the DPP said, her office “had four High Court appeals [and] seven Magistrates’ Court appeals, with two magistrate appeals being heard,” the SFC report stated without further explanation.

The DPP added that her office had “forfeited” $1.18 million and “detained” $599,277 in 2022 as of Nov. 15, according to the report, which did not provide further details on these funds either. The office did not respond to the Beacon’s request for more information.


Also during the SFC meeting, the DPP reportedly told legislators that her office was understaffed. Vacant posts, she said, included three for senior crown counsels, one for a crown counsel, two for legal executive officers, and one for a paralegal.

Natural Resources and Labour Minister Mitch Turnbull reportedly asked Ms. Scatliffe-Esprit what she suggested should be done between her office, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the Magistrates’ Court to ensure that defendants receive proper representation in the courts.

In response, she “stated that the criminal justice system is not dependent on the crown: There is a defence bar as well,” according to the SFC report. “She also indicated that the remedy for the delays is the Criminal Procedure Rules. This procedure puts strict timelines on parties to ensure that matters go through the court system faster.”

The SFC report did not explain whether she advocated for these rules to be amended or simply to be more strictly enforced.