No decision yet to amend Interim Act
Monique Grange, Assistant News Editor - Radio
Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, says consideration will be given to the recommendation that the Public Defender (Interim Act) be amended to give that office more investigative power.
In his interim report on the Tivoli Gardens incursion, Public Defender Earl Witter, suggested that the Act be altered to allow him to conduct investigations into proceedings under Defence Act.
He also recommended that, it be amended to exclude investigations, related to allegations of infringement of any constitutionally protected right or freedom, or any criminal action.
Golding says while the priority now is to decide the terms of reference for the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry, discussions will be held after on any changes to the Interim Act.
He notes that a decision would have to be taken on whether the policy reasons which underpin the provisions in the interim Act need to be reviewed in light of Witter’s concerns.
The Justice Minister points out that as a matter of national security, there’s a reason why the Public Defender is not authorised to investigate the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
Senator Golding says it would be necessary to have discussions with the Legal Reform Department, the Attorney General’s Chambers, the JDF and external stakeholders in deciding whether the Interim Act requires amendment.
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