St Helena Online

St Helena Online

The St Helena report and the gap in media

Exactly who is – or was – St Helena’s mystery prosecutor?

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The identity of the “Public Prosecutor of St Helena” remains a mystery, two weeks after the unnamed lawyer was cited in a statement about a criminal investigation into four former government staff.

No appointment to the role has been reported in the Government Gazette, which records all public service job changes.

The puzzle arose after two UK social workers and former Attorney General Frank Wastell were cleared of criminal conduct in an adoption case on Ascension Island. A fourth person, who has never been publicly identified, was also cleared.

St Helena Government says the adoption case has not been closed and no details can legally be discussed. The criminal investigation arose from the judge’s concerns about the conduct of officials involved in the hearing.

The statement announcing the outcome of the inquiry made fresh criticisms of the people involved, and attributed them to an independent counsel – an unnamed barrister.

St Helena Government was asked last week to name the two lawyers who had given opinions on the affair, but did not do so. It said: “No personal details will be provided as to the identity of any individuals concerned.”

However, the statement by current Attorney General Nicola Moore said one of the counsel, who reviewed police evidence, had been “appointed as Public Prosecutor of St Helena specifically to undertake this task”.

Yesterday, the press office in The Castle was asked to name “all people who have held the office of Public Prosecutor of St Helena in the past 12 months”.

The email from St Helena Online added: “This is a public office and must be a matter of public record.”

By the end of the day, a response was still awaited.

One source with knowledge of procedures on the island told St Helena Online: “Such appointments are made by the Governor and are supposed to be listed in the St Helena Government Gazette.

“Perhaps I’m not looking hard enough. but I’ve not found any such appointment being so listed.”

Martin Warsama, one of the two UK social workers cleared in the police investigation, said he could not understand the government’s apparent reluctance to name the holder of a public office on the island.

He said he could not feel confident the counsel concerned was truly independent if he was not even allowed to know their name.

Mr Warsama has written to the Attorney General demanding to know the basis of criticisms made about the people cleared in the adoption case – and to ask why he was not told about them before they were made public.

He has also demanded to know the name of the two lawyers involved in the investigation.

St Helena Online has not asked the Attorney General herself to name the lawyers and it is not suggested that she has declined to do so.

If neither name is revealed, attempts will be made to obtain them through other channels as a matter of public interest.

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