Director Public Prosecutions
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is the Principal National Prosecuting Office for the Kingdom of Lesotho. It is headed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who reports to the Attorney General (A.G.). The powers vested to the DPP are derived from the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act No. 9 of 1981 (C.P. & E Act) and the Lesotho Constitution, 1991 respectively. As per the provisions of Section 5 and 6 of the C.P. & E Act, the powers vested to the DPP may be exercised by the DPP in person or by Officers Subordinate to him/her acting in accordance with his/her general or specific instructions.
The DPP is deputized by three Crown Attorneys who are responsible for the three Regions namely Northern Region, Central Region and Southern Region respectively. These three Crown Attorneys supervise Chief Attorneys who in return supervise Senior Crown Counsel at the Headquarters (Law Office). There are also Crown Counsel below the Senior Crown Counsel.
-The main responsibility of this office is to prosecute Criminal Cases on behalf of the King/Crown at the Subordinate Courts, High Court and Court of Appeal.
-It also advises the Police (Investigating Officers) in their investigations
-It peruses police dockets and issues directives accordingly.
To serve without fear, favor or prejudice
- The services of the office of the DPP have been decentralized to the districts. In each district, there is a Prosecution Office which is manned by a Senior Crown Counsel who reports to the Crown Attorneys depending on their Regions. Besides the Senior Crown and Crown Counsel at the district level, there are also Senior Public Prosecutors and Public Prosecutors.
- These are the Officers whose do not have LLB
qualifications but B.A. Law, Diploma in Law and Local Law Certificate. They
only prosecute at the Subordinate Courts. They used to be termed
Lay-Prosecutors. The Lay-Prosecution has now been phased-out although there are
still some such prosecutors. When they retire, their positions are no longer
filled; instead they get merged and turned into the positions of Crown Counsel.
Clientele and Affiliations
4.1 The Office of the DPP serves the public in general especially those who are witnesses, complainants and/or victims in the criminal cases investigated and brought to it by the police (Investigators).
4.2 It should be understood that the first and foremost group of people that this office works with and/or serve is the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
4.3 It also works directly with the Judiciary/Courts in that it places all the Criminal Cases before the Courts for remands and prosecution.
4.4 It also works with the Lawyers or Legal Private Practitioners who represent accused persons in various cases placed before the Courts of Law.
The overall function of the Civil Section is to represent Government in civil litigation before all Courts of Law and to provide advisory services to the government on all matters pertaining to civil law. In this regard the section is an arm of the Attorney General’s Chambers, which aims at enhancing the rule of law in the country and to conscientise the public on the observance of law and fundamental human rights. The section is also mandated to review all agreements and/or contracts that the government of Lesotho enters into.
The section plays a role in the discipline of Public Servants in that it assists ministries in drawing charges and advising on other legal issues in the prosecution of disciplinary cases against public servants:
1. The section represents the Government in Civil Litigation. This is basically what a private practitioner does in respect of his clients in civil actions.
It involves instituting actions on behalf of government as well as defending those brought against it.
For this purpose, it means that files have to be opened in respect of each matter.
In order to prepare for court appearances, extensive research has to be undertaken by way of identifying relevant previous cases and other literature like textbook materials which will assist the court in arriving at a just decision in the matter.
2. The section provides legal advice to the Government. This involves interpretation of law, and the constitution. It involves writing out legal opinions.
Needless to say, this calls for a lot of research.
3. The section is mandated to review all agreements
and/ or contracts that the government of Lesotho enters into. This entails that we advise the government on
the legal implications and obligations which the government enters into. Ideally, this entails that the Section has to
be involved in all the steps leading up to the conclusion of a contract and /or
Agreement. However in most cases, the Section is never consulted, but only
comes into the picture when the concerned ministry experiences problems.
Goals and Objectives
-The section is working towards achieving the following goals and objectives:-To reduce the backlog of Civil cases pending in the High Court and Subordinate Courts. Reduction of backlog means cases proceed to finality and this creates a positive public perception.
-That all are equal before the law and this in turn would promote co-operation between the civil society and law enforcement agencies, which would facilitate disposal of cases and promotion of peace and stability.
-To provide speedy and well researched legal advise to the government Ministries so that government officials act within the confines of law.
-To train staff so that they can keep abreast with new developments taking place and to enhance overall performance, to decentralise Civil Litigation Service