Barbara Gayle Staff Reporter
The Constitutional Court today dismissed the motion brought by eight policemen who were contending that the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) did not have the power to compel them to give statements in relation to a fatal shooting.
In dismissing the motion, the court held that the Commissioner of INDECOM acted under the ambit of the law. The court suggested two recommendations be made to the Act.
The policemen were charged last year after they refused to provide statements to INDECOM regarding the controversial killing of Rohan Dixon and Derrick Bolton in Tredegar Park, Spanish Town, St Catherine, in August 2010. The case is pending in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court.
The policemen are: Orrette Williamson, Gerville Williams, Francis Rennalls, Devon Noble, David Hutchinson, Petro Green, Marcel Dixon and Kenneth Daley.
They were each served with a notice pursuant to Section 21 of the INDECOM Act to attend the Video Identification Unit at the Central Police Station on September 14, 2010 to furnish statements and answer questions concerning their actions; those of their colleagues; and all other occurrences witnessed by them in the vicinity of Tredegar Park, Lauriston, Brooklyn and Spanish Town, St Catherine in August 2010 when Bolton and Dixon were killed under controversial circumstances.
But the policemen had contended that INDECOM had no power under the Constitution to force the policemen to give statements.
The claimants sought several declarations, one of which is that under the Constitution INDECOM cannot compel them to furnish statements.
INDECOM had served notices on the policemen, identifying them as suspects and ordered them to attend the Video Identification Unit at the Central Police Station on September 14, 2010, to furnish statements and answer questions.
The policemen had said in court documents that they are seeking to protect their constitutional rights to a fair trial or fair hearing, seeking constitutional protection against self-incrimination, the right of silence, and the protection of the presumption of innocence.
The court comprising Justice Carol Beswick, Justice Bryan Sykes and Justice Frank Williams called for the law to be amended so that information obtained by the INDECOM Commissioner should not be be used against policemen in a criminal matter. The court also recommended that persons being investigated by INDECOM should be advised of their rights to Judicial Review.
INDECOM's application for legal costs was refused.