The UK Privy Council has dismissed an appeal by the Independent Commission of Investigations, INDECOM into whether it has the power to arrest and prosecute members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
INDECOM was seeking to have the ruling by the Court of Appeal in Jamaica quashed.
It says the Act does not confer any express powers on the Commissioner or the Commission and its staff to prosecute incident offences.
It says the Commission and its Commissioner and staff similarly have no implied power to prosecute incident offences.
The UK Privy Council says there’s nothing in the Act to suggest that the Commission should prosecute incident offences, nor that doing so would facilitate or enhance the performance of the Commission’s investigative function.
However it says the Board has reached a different conclusion in respect of section 33 offences.
It says each of the section 33 offences is closely related to, and is intended to promote the effective performance and prevent obstruction of the Commission’s investigative work.
The necessary implication is that the Commission should have the power to prosecute these offences.
But the Privy Council highlighted subsequently that in practice, private prosecutions for incident offences are an impossibility.
It says this is because section 28 prohibits the Commissioner and Commission staff from relying on any evidence acquired as a result of the Commission’s investigations.
In a release to the media, INDECOM’s Commissioner, Terrence Williams, noted that as the points were decided only partly in favour of the Commission’s arguments, the Commission is hopeful that there will be continuation of the efforts to reform the INDECOM Act, as agreed five years ago by the Joint Select Committee of Parliament.