The Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has launched its disclosure protocol, which will serve to enhance transparency and accountability in the justice system.
Launched at the Courtleigh Hotel, Kingston, on October 11, the protocol deals with the stages, content, exemptions to, and forms of disclosure.
In his address, Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon Mark Golding, noted that the disclosure protocol will act as a manual, governing disclosure by the prosecution in criminal cases.
"Disclosure is essential in achieving a fair adjudication process, as it promotes fairness and impartiality. This publication will add value to the criminal justice system by codifying in a single public document, the principles which have emerged over the years of common law jurisprudence," Senator Golding said.
He noted further that the protocol will improve the level of transparency in the prosecution of criminal cases conducted in Jamaica and enhance the level of justice that is delivered in the criminal courts.
"The accessibility of the disclosure publication will provide opportunities for the Jamaican public to easily understand the main principles of the law. This protocol should be treated with a level of respect that reflects the diligence that has gone into its creation. I charge our prosecutors with the task of familiarising themselves with its content and applying it accordingly," the Minister urged.
Revisions over time
He added that the protocol will be revised over time as it becomes necessary to reflect the ever-changing laws and practices, both in Jamaica and internationally.
Meanwhile, Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, noted that prosecutors in Jamaica must demonstrate fearlessness, impartiality and a monumental work ethic in serving the public interest and maintaining law and order.
"The Office of the ODPP recognises that true fairness in a trial requires prosecutors to embrace and practise high standards of ethics at all times. Disclosure is the practice of prosecutors revealing to the defendant material on which the case against him or her is based. This is a critical element of fairness within a trial," Llewellyn said.