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Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

The DPP

The Director of Public Prosecutions
The Director of Public Prosecutions is responsible for and exercise control over the conduct of prosecutions in the Republic of Mauritius. In this respect, the Director is conferred independent powers in relation to criminal prosecutions, which may be exercised by him in person or through other persons acting in accordance with his general or specific instructions.
The Director of Public Prosecutions is appointed by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission and is a holder of a public office. He is a person qualified for appointment as a Supreme Court Judge and his security of tenure is similar to that of a Judge. In the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by the Constitution, the Director of Public Prosecutions is independent and he is not subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.
The powers Director of Public Prosecutions is governed by section 72 of the Constitution. It provides that:

(3) The Director of Public Prosecutions shall have power in any case in which he considers it desirable so to do –
(a) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings before any court of law (not being a court established by a disciplinary law);
(b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or authority; and
(c) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by himself or any other person or authority.

(4) The powers of the Director of Public Prosecutions under subsection
(3) may be exercised by him in person or through other persons acting in accordance with his general or specific instructions.
(5) The powers conferred upon the Director of Public Prosecutions by subsection (3)(b) and (c) shall be vested in him to the exclusion of any other person or authority.

Provided that, where any other person or authority has instituted criminal proceedings, nothing in this subsection shall prevent the withdrawal of those proceedings by or at the instance of that person or authority at any stage before the person against whom the proceedings have been instituted has been charged before the court.

(6) In the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by this section, the Director of Public Prosecutions shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.”
Also under sections 118 and 122 of the District and Intermediate Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act:
s. 118 The Director of Public Prosecutions may prosecute any offender and cause the prosecution to be conducted under his direction by any officer of his department, or any person deputed by him.

s.122 Where a private prosecutor abandons the prosecution or wilfully neglects to carry on the prosecution in a proper manner, the Magistrate may stay proceedings and refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions who may direct any officer to continue the prosecution and thereupon such prosecution may be continued by such officer without any change in the record being necessary.

Following the Privy Council Judgment in Mohit v DPP 2005 PRV 31, the decisions of the Director of Public Prosecutions are amenable to judicial review. There is no legal obligation on the DPP to give reasons and no legal rule, if reasons are given, governing their form or content. It is for the DPP to decide whether reasons should be given and, if reasons are given, how full those reasons should be.

​Satyajit Boolell, SC