Gleaner/Power 106 News
DPP says no basis for prosecution in phone recording drama

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has ruled that there is no basis for criminal prosecutions in the matter of Breach of Privacy involving Junior Agriculture Minister Ian Hayles and communications director Cecil Thoms.

This has effectively shut down the issue involving secret recording of the junior minister by Thoms.

In a statement today, the DPP said based on the material presented, there is no basis in law for any criminal charge against anyone.

"If either Minister Hayles or Mr Thoms is of the view that there may have been some breach that could have placed either of them at a disadvantage, it is for either party to seek the requisite legal advice to determine whether there is any cause of action in the civil arena," she said.

The DPP said the investigating officer had also told both Thoms and Hayles that the matter was a civil one.

She says the investigating officer had returned the phones in the same manner he had got them.

According to the DPP, the circumstances of the matter appear to be departmental issues.

She suggested that the relevant department deals with the matter with due regard to the principles of natural justice.

She also recommends mediation to ensure fairness to all parties.

The drama began two weeks ago when Mr Hayles claimed he was being secretly recorded by Mr Thoms.

The Communications Officer has denied claims that he offered his cellphones to junior minister Ian Hayles in the heat of the drama over the alleged illegal taping of the conversations.

Last week Mr Hayles wrote to permanent secretary Donovan Stanberry calling for strong action against the communications officer.

In a letter dated November 23, the junior minister charged that his concerns heightened when he found recordings of a meeting involving the senior minister in the ministry, as well as the permanent secretary.

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