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Cindy Clarke appointed Director of Public Prosecutions

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Cindy Clarke, the new Director of Public Prosecutions
Larry Mussenden, who will be sworn in as a Puisne Judge this week (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
A photo of Cindy Clarke posted by Warwick Academy on social media yesterday. Ms Clarke was in the class of 1992
A photograph of Larry Mussenden posted yesterday on social media by Warwick Academy. Mr Mussenden was in the class of 1980

Cindy Clarke was yesterday appointed Director of Public Prosecutions after she was earlier passed over for the post.

John Rankin, the Governor, announced the appointment and said it would take effect from Friday.

Mr Rankin said Ms Clarke brought a “wealth of experience” to the position, including as Crown counsel since 2000 and as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions since 2011.

He added: “I wish Ms Clarke well in her new role.”

Ms Clarke will replace Larry Mussenden, who will take up his new position as a Puisne Judge in the Supreme Court after a swearing in ceremony at Government House on Thursday.

The Governor said: “I am grateful to Mr Mussenden for continuing in his work as Director of Public Prosecutions during a busy period.

“I am pleased he will now be able to take up his seat on the Supreme Court and wish him well in his further service to Bermuda.”

Ms Clarke is understood to have been the only candidate in a 2013 appointment process for the role of DPP.

She was expected to take over the position from British barrister Rory Field after she was recommended by an independent panel subject to a “suggested transitional period.”

But George Fergusson, then the Governor, opted to renew Mr Field’s contract for a year.

Mr Fergusson said that “in light of certain subsequent developments, it became untenable for the appointment to proceed”.

Mr Fergusson said the role was “not a job which should, or will be, filled according to political or other pressures”.

Mr Field was reappointed again a year later for another two years - which sparked anger at the Governor’s failure to give the job to a suitable Bermudian.

Michael Dunkley, then the Premier, protested to the Foreign Office and 15 lawyers staged a walkout of a special sitting of the Supreme Court to highlight their disappointment at the failure to appoint a “perfectly qualified Bermudian”.

Mr Field resigned in December 2015 and Mr Mussenden was appointed as his successor in April 2016.

A legal row broke out between Ms Clarke and Mr Mussenden in 2019, when she accused him in a civil lawsuit of acting with “actual, presumed or apparent bias” and “in breach of natural justice” after he made accusations against her.

She said he investigated a complaint against her himself, but should not have because he was the complainant.

Assistant Justice John Riihiluoma ruled in Ms Clarke’s favour, but the Court of Appeal later overturned his decision and found that Mr Mussenden correctly handled allegations of gross misconduct.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley congratulated the two on their new appointments.

He said: “I applaud the achievements of Mr Larry Mussenden in his role as Director of Public Prosecutions.

“The Bermuda Police Service and office of the director have a close working relationship to ensure the connection between law enforcement and justice in Bermuda is effective.

“There are many things that the DPP’s office deals with that are not seen by the public.

“Their role is challenging, balancing cases to proceed to court in the public interest and making judgments in support of victims.

“Mr Mussenden has shown great leadership in his role and has achieved much that sets the DPP in a far greater position to deal with the challenges of 2020 and beyond.”

Mr Corbishley added that he was also “extremely pleased” by Ms Clarke’s appointment.

"Ms Clarke already has a strong relationship with the BPS and has been a lead advocate within many difficult and complex cases, not least as a champion of matters affecting victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.“

Ms Clarke and Mr Mussenden are both former pupils of Warwick Academy.

The school posted "huge congratulations“ to the pair on social media yesterday.

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Published December 02, 2020 at 9:04 am (Updated December 02, 2020 at 9:04 am)

Cindy Clarke appointed Director of Public Prosecutions

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