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INDECOM, Digicel appeal begins in Supreme Court

Published:Tuesday | November 11, 2014 | 6:18 PM

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Legal submissions have started in the appeal brought by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) which is challenging a ruling by the Supreme Court that it has no authority to compel telecommunication provider Digicel to provide it with call data.

INDECOM had served notice on Digicel for it to provide call data records and subscriber details for several phone numbers to assist in its investigation into the 2009 shooting death of entertainer Robert 'Kentucky Kid' Hill.

Three policemen and two civilians who were charged following a Coroner's Jury verdict were freed last month after the crown offered no evidence.

After Digicel refused to provide the records, INDECOM took the issue to the Supreme Court seeking an order to compel Digicel to comply.

Justice Indgrid Mangatal heard the matter and ruled that Digicel was not compellable under the INDECOM Act.

The judge said if Parliament had intended for INDECOM to obtain compulsorily information from Digicel or any other telecommunication provider, then it would have been legislated in the INDECOM ACT as exists in the Contractor General's Act.

The judge also ruled that Digicel was restricted from providing subscriber information regarding the use of its services by third parties to INDECOM pursuant to subsection 47 (1) of the Telecommunications Act.

Today INDECOM boss, Terrence Williams, in his submissions, asked the Court of Appeal to find that the judge erred in her decision.

Williams argued that Digicel did not enjoy absolute or unfettered discretion to decide whether to disclose the information.

He submitted futher that the INDECOM Act provided immunity of absolute privilege to all persons who provide information to INDECOM.

Williams is asking the court to set aside the Supreme Court ruling.


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