INDECOM has no jurisdiction to arrest and prosecute members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force

Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 6:47 PM GMT-5

The police federation and The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) have been reacting to a ruling handed down by the UK based Privy Council. The ruling determined that INDECOM has no jurisdiction to arrest and prosecute members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force in any offence arising from an incident.

Commissioner of INDECOM Terrence Williams wants the reforms on its powers to arrest and prosecute as recommended by the joint select committee in parliament. His powers are now limited to investigations. He is calling on the parliamentarians to attend to the needed reforms to give INDECOM the power to arrest and prosecute as recommended by the members of parliament almost 4 years ago, to clearly state the powers of INDECOM. 

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He says this decision will make some things very difficult for INDECOM. The powers to arrest and prosecute, needs to be urgently attended to, as he believes this is what the Jamaican parliamentarians intended and INDECOM needs the powers to act.

The Police Federation has been contending that INDECOM has no jurisdiction to arrest and prosecute members of the police force in the past.

However, Mr. Williams believes the parliament needs to clearly state the powers of INDECOM, he said the joint select committee of parliament had stated that reforms were needed and he hopes that the needed changes will be put in place now, they spoke about it over 4 years ago and he has been waiting for changes.

The  ruling has caused INDECOM to be submitting files to the Director of Public prosecution for rulings.

The police federation is pleased yet humbled by the ruling of the Privy Council as they have always said INDECOM does not have the ability to charge and arrest police officers.

The ruling was a conclusion to a nine-year court battle and the police federation now says their position was vindicated. The Chairman of the Police Federation Sgt Patrae Rowe said the force can now function without the encumbrance of this issue.

He says the ruling is a conclusion of the issue and they can now move forward with their engagement with INDECOM, knowing that the position that was a contentious one has been clarified and they can now carry out their function without these issues.

 In 2013 Mr. Dyer had prevented members of the police force to give up their firearms to INDECOM investigators in order for them to do investigations in a case. The judgement states that the matter is to be returned to the court of appeal for further consideration in regards to the appeal against Mr. Dyer’s sentence.

The reasons Mr. Dyer gave for making his decision were not good enough to cause him to prevent the police team from handing over their weapons. The defenses he raised could not provide him with an excuse for doing what he did.

The UK law Lords determined that the commission of INDECOM and investigative staff can prosecute offences that may arise during an investigation on matters such as resistance, obstruction or false statements on this matter the Privy Council ruled in favor of INDECOM in its appeal for a reversal of the court of appeals decision to quash the conviction of the Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr. Albert Dyer, after he was involved in a case in 2014 when he breached the INDECOM act and he was found guilty.    

Before the ruling, a police officer was required to comply with the decisions made by INDECOM.

It is the first time in about 4 decades that the Privy Council restored a conviction that the court of appeal had quashed. It was quashed because of a number of issues that would cause INDECOM to rely on the police to get information to do investigations. 





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