Jamaica’s second highest court, the Court of Appeal is to hear an application from attorneys representing the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) to seek leave to go to the Kingdom’s (UK) Privy Council on June 8.
INDECOM is hoping that the United Privy Council will rule on whether it has the power to arrest or charge members of the security forces.
In March, the Appeal Court had ruled that INDECOM Act does not give the agency the powers to arrest, charge or prosecute members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) or the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
However, INDECOM, which is headed by Commissioner Terrence Williams, had maintained that investigators assigned to the agency can continue to carry out the arrest and charge police and soldiers in a private capacity under the common law.
But since the ruling by the Appeal Court, several defence attorneys have been bringing submissions before the courts for their clients, who are police officers charged by INDECOM, to be freed.
One such case saw Detective Constable Shawn Pennington, who was facing murder charges being freed in the St Catherine Parish Court last Tuesday after his attorney challenged the authority of INDECOM to charge him.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula Llewellyn and INDECOM recently came to an agreement that all matters investigated by the agency will now be referred to the DPP’s office.
According to the new protocol, the DPP’S office will rule on the cases within 30 days, which will be subjected to the files being completed upon submission.
If an arrest is to take place, the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) and INDECOM are to cooperate going forward.