A comprehensive and continuing training programme for government prosecutors, including a Chinese language programme, has been introduced to raise their professional standard, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Grenville Cross said today (Thursday) on the first anniversary of his appointment.
Reviewing the programme of "renewal, reform and modernisation" which he launched a year ago, Mr Cross pointed out that only if prosecutors were thoroughly and continuously trained could they discharge their duties to the highest standards.
One of the Division's new initiatives as set out is to conduct the majority of criminal cases in both official languages effectively at all levels of court.
"We aim to use our own prosecutors to handle 100 per cent of the Chinese language Criminal Appeals and Magistracy Appeals in 1999, and 50 per cent of the Chinese language trials in the District Court, and the majority of such trials in the Court of First Instance," Mr Cross said.
"To enable the Prosecutions Division to meet its objective, the Prosecutions Division has since the handover instituted a comprehensive and continuing programme to train our prosecutors to conduct criminal cases in Chinese," he added.
In the past 14 months, between July 1997 and September 1998, the Prosecutions Division has organised 33 seminars/workshops in five phases for prosecutors. These workshops comprise sessions devoted to making legal submissions in Chinese; drafting of court documents in Chinese; mock trials and mock appeals. More seminars are planned in the coming months.
In November this year, four seminars on drafting court documents in Chinese will be conducted; in December and January 1999, five mock appeals in Chinese, and in March 1999, four mock trials in Chinese.
Apart from the Chinese language programme, seven other schemes, including criminal advocacy courses, overseas and local advocacy training, Mainland training and overseas legal symposia, have also been initiated to ensure that prosecutors are both comprehensively trained in advocacy and learned in the law.
While fully committed to developing in-house expertise in criminal proceedings, Mr Cross also noted the importance of promoting a strong, experienced and independent Bar, "we remain wedded to the belief that there are legitimate public interest reasons why some prosecution work should be briefed out to the private sector," he said.
Mr Cross emphasised that it was vital to have securely in place a set of core prosecutorial values. "For by the standards we uphold will we as prosecutors be judged," he said.
End/Thursday, October 15, 1998