INDECOM Claims Appeal Court Ruling as ‘Major Victory’

Jamaica’s Court of Appeal has ruled that the common law gives INDECOM Commissioner, Terrence Williams and his investigators the power to arrest, charge and prosecute people – including Police personnel.

However, the Appellate Court says the provisions of the INDECOM Act do not give these powers to the Commission as a body.

The declarations were made in a judgement handed down today in a case where the Police Federation took INDECOM Commissioner Terrence Williams to Court.

The Federation sought a declaration from the Court of Appeal that INDECOM and its investigators do not have the power to arrest, charge and prosecute people – including Police personnel.

The Appellate Court declared today that the INDECOM Act does not state that INDECOM has those powers.

But according to the Court of Appeal, the common law does give INDECOM, Commissioner Terrence Williams and his investigators the power to, in their private capacities, arrest, charge and prosecute people, including Police personnel.

The Appeals Court says the common law empowers the INDECOM Commissioner and his investigators to carry out those actions without consulting the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP.

Justices Patrick Brooks, Frank Williams and Hillary Phillips QC heard the appeal.

Justice Phillips delivered the majority judgement. She noted that the judgement doesn’t stop the INDECOM Commissioner and his investigators from moving to initiate an arrest, charge or prosecution.

INDECOM Commissioner Terrence Williams is describing the judgement handed down today as a victory. He says some publications about the judgement earlier today were misleading.

Commissioner Williams says INDECOM investigators have always been using the right given to them by the common law to arrest, charge and prosecute.

He says, therefore, that today’s judgement should not affect any case which INDECOM currently has before the Court.

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