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Private Prosecutions in Mauritius: Clarifying Locus Standi and Making the Director of Public Prosecutions more Accountable

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Case law shows that private prosecutions have been part of Mauritian law at least since 1873. In Mauritius there are two types of private prosecutions: private prosecutions by individuals; and private prosecutions by statutory bodies. Neither the Mauritian constitution nor legislation provides for the right to institute a private prosecution. Because of the fact that Mauritian legislation is not detailed on the issue of locus standi to institute private prosecutions and does not address the issue of whether or not the Director of Public Prosecutions has to give reasons when he takes over and discontinues a private prosecution, the Supreme Court has had to address these issues. The Mauritian Supreme Court has held, inter alia, that a private prosecution may only be instituted by an aggrieved party (even in lower courts where this is not a statutory requirement) and that the Director of Public Prosecutions may take over and discontinue a private prosecution without giving reasons for his decision. However, the Supreme Court does not define “an aggrieved party.” In this article the author takes issue with the Court’s findings in these cases and, relying on legislation from other African countries, recommends how the law could be amended to strengthen the private prosecutor’s position.

Affiliations: 1: University of the Western CapeSouth Africa


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