Sun | Jan 20, 2019

State Department cites perceived reluctance to discipline police

Published:Monday | April 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

According to the report, accused officers are exploiting a lengthy judicial review process which, in some cases, could take months to complete.

It said the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) "continued to be unable to execute arrest warrants for 19 police officers it sought to charge with murder and other offences because the officers took advantage of a lengthy judicial review process through the courts afforded to them by law".

The court has, however, found that INDECOM does not have the power to prosecute members of the security forces.

Only last week, lawyers representing a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force were granted leave by the Supreme Court to seek judicial review on whether INDECOM can question their client without the knowledge of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) which represents another challenge to the powers of INDECOM.

As at the end of November 2017, the Office of the DPP and INDECOM had active cases of criminal charges against 81 government security officials for their alleged involvement in unlawful killings or other abuses.

Also contained in the report is an acknowledgment that lengthy trials with numerous delays, including those involving police officers, continued to be a systemic problem.

"Trial delays, the judicial review mechanism and a perceived reluctance to discipline police officers for wrongdoing contributed to a sense of impunity with respect to suspected unlawful killings," the report said.