- posted under: About Us
What the Public Defender Cannot Do
The Public Defender cannot investigate certain complaints because, in law, he has no jurisdiction to do so. These include:
- A case where the Ministry of Justice is seeking to extradite a person to another State;
- Any decision of The Services Commission which deals with a disciplinary sanction applied to a State Employee;
- Giving of national honours or awards by the body responsible for such things;
- The utlisation by the Governor-General of his power to exercise mercy in respect of a convicted person;
It is only in special cases that the Public Defender may look into complaints about actions which can be handled by the court of law.
What the Public Defender Does
The primary role of the Public Defender is that of investigating the allegations/complaints that are lodged by persons aggrieved by State or Statutory body. This entails not only interviewing the person making the allegation, or collecting documents from that person, but the Office of the Public Defender, is obliged to put the points to the State of Statutory body, giving them a reasonable time within which to respond.
Enforcement Tools of the Public Defender
To assist us to carry out our investigative duty, we are empowered to summon an individual who we think has information that is relevant to an investigation. Additionally, the Public Defender has the power to enter premises from which an authority operates, for the purpose of inspecting documents in the possession of the authority, if this is necessary to prevent or detect a crime or if it is necessary to protect the right or freedoms of any person.
How To Make a Complaint
A complaint must first be made to the Head of the Department in question. If nothing has been done about your complaint, then write to the Public Defender.
Write your complaint letter to the Public Defender and include the following:
- Your name, address, age, telephone ,email and whether you have a disability;
- The name of the authority you are complaining about;
- All facts about your complaint, including the date
Any person or group of persons may make a complaint. The complaint must be made by the person who has suffered the injustice. If this person has died, is underage, or cannot act for himself, then someone else may make the complaint.
Ways In Which the Public Defender Can Help To Put Matters Right
At the end of an investigation, he may make recommendations to any authority that is involved in the complaint. For example, he may recommend:
- Use its powers and resources to make legal counsel available to an aggrieved citizen if it is a matter that can only be resolved via the Court system;
- That the complaint be re-examined;
- Examine existing laws or areas of policy and make recommendations for legislative changes that will assist in the sphere of constitutional, and public law;
- Seek financial compensation or other forms of appropriate redress on behalf of the affected person(s) behalf;
- That a person who has caused a breach of the law, or has contributed to the identified injustice should be disciplined or where appropriate dismissed.
If the authority does not take effective steps to carry out any of these recommendations, the Public Defender may make a special report to the Parliament. If an investigation shows that a crime may have been committed, the Public Defender may make the matter known to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Director of Public Prosecutions will then decide if someone should be charged and taken to court.