KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has the power of arrest and charge, a judgment handed down in the Constitutional Court said Tuesday morning.
The judgment further states there is no requirement for a ruling from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) before an officer is arrested and charged, and that powers possessed by the Commission to arrest and initiate prosecution does not undermine the DPP.
INDECOM was established to investigate shootings by the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force.
The ruling is a major victory for INDECOM in the matter brought before the Courts by the Jamaica Police Federation (JPF), the Police Officers’ Association, the Special Constabulary Force Association, and the United District Constables’ Association.
The JPF and police representative bodies sought a declaration as to whether or not the Commission had the powers to arrest, charge and to initiate prosecutions with or without a ruling from the DPP.
The court, comprising Justice Horace Marsh, Justice Lennox Campbell and Justice David Fraser, handed down their judgment in the Constitutional Court which held that the Commission’s staff has by virtue of common law and statue, the power to arrest, charge and initiate prosecution.
The statutory power stems from Section 20 of the INDECOM Act which grants like powers, authorities and privileges to the Commissioner and his investigative staff as those given by law to a constable.