Thu | Aug 24, 2017

West Kingston report recommends amendment of Extradition Act

Published:Friday | June 17, 2016 | 6:45 AM

The panel that conducted the Commission of Enquiry into the May 2010 west Kingston operation by the security forces has recommended that the Government amend the Extradition Act.

In its more than 900-page report, the commissioners pointed out that under the current law, there is no time limit within which the minister responsible for extradition requests must issue an authority to proceed.

The commissioners note that extradition proceedings in the magistrates’ courts do not involve the determination of innocence or guilt, and a fugitive is not stopped from invoking legal challenges to the request.

It’s against that background that it has recommended that Section 8 of the Extradition Act be amended to make it mandatory that the minister make a decision on authority to proceed within a specific time.

READ: Full report - The West Kingston Commission of Enquiry

The commissioners also recommended that where a request for the extradition of a resident or a fugitive is made and the attorney general intends to sign the authority to proceed, this should not be publicised.

It is further recommended that immediately upon its execution, the attorney general should inform the commissioner of police.

Then Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne delayed signing the authority to proceed, for nine months, with the extradition of Coke, saying it would be illegal to do so.

However, under mounting pressure from various private sector bodies and civil society groups, then Prime Minister Bruce Golding, in an address to the nation, said the document would be signed.

Coke later waived his right to an extradition hearing and was taken to the United States, where he was tried and found guilty for drug and racketeering charges and is now serving a 23-year sentence in prison.