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Field steps down as DPP after eight years

New opportunities: Rory Field, the director of public prosecutions, has handed in his resignation

Rory Field, the Island’s Director of Public Prosecutions of eight years, has tendered his resignation to “take up a new opportunity”, according to Government House.

While Mr Field reported a smooth reception in September 2007, the end of his tenure was overshadowed by controversy over the lack of a Bermudian candidate for the job.

No successor had been established in the troubled term of Vinette Graham-Allen before Mr Field, and his reappointment in 2010 came with renewed expectations of a Bermudian taking the post.

There was political furore in December 2013, including an unprecedented protest by lawyers, as Bermudian candidate Cindy Clarke, who had been expected to assume the role of DPP, was dropped.

Government House in that instance stated simply that due to “certain subsequent developments, it became untenable for the appointment to proceed”, and the Governor, George Fergusson, declined calls for an investigation.

Yesterday Mr Fergusson said he had accepted Mr Field’s resignation, effective in February 2016, “with regret”.

“He has done an excellent job — which is not yet quite over,” the Governor added.

“I have asked the chair of the Judicial and Legal Services Committee to begin the search for a successor.”

At present, Ms Clarke is one of the deputies for the position, and the succession will be watched closely.

Mr Field led the department through a time of transition, concurrent with a surge in gang-related violence and gun murders.

At the opening of the new legal year in January 2014, the DPP lamented the heavy workload combined with the “morale-deflating” impact of cost cuts. However, it was the issue of his replacement provoked that drew the most headlines, with concern coming from both political parties, and outrage from the Opposition.

Shadow Attorney-General Michael Scott called the failure to appoint Ms Clarke “a slap in the face”, and about 15 lawyers staged a walkout from the opening of the 2015 legislative session, contending that qualified Bermudians had been overlooked in his reappointment. A “disappointed” Michael Dunkley pledged to raise the issue with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mr Field arrived on the Island as DPP keen to “build up the office so that it’s a respected institution within the criminal justice system and also one which is viewed as being fair and professional, and one that Bermudians want to join and stay in as well”, as he told this newspaper at the time.