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Prosecutors get manual

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The Ministry of Justice, through the Justice Undertakings for Social Transformation (JUST) Programme, has officially launched the Office of Director of Public Prosecution Prosecutor's Manual for Jamaica.

The manual will help to promote transparency, consistency and fairness in decision making, outline basic criteria that are applied by prosecutors when considering to prosecute a case, as well as remind the public prosecutor of his or her duty to be fair, independent and objective.

Speaking at the launch held last Tuesday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, said the manual represents a significant achievement for the Jamaican justice system.

"To have a document (of this nature) developed and published so that those who (created) it can be held (accountable) by the standards they have set for themselves is an important step forward for governance in the country," he said.

The justice minister also used the opportunity to express gratitude to the Canadian and British governments, for their support to the justice-reform process, more so to the Canadian government for funding and technical support provided through the JUST programme.

Prior to the publication of the prosecutor's manual, two protocols were launched, the 'Decision to Prosecute' and the 'Obligation to Disclose'.

Both protocols have been incorporated into the prosecutor's manual, alongside a code of conduct and guidelines related to bail, plea negotiations, as well as direction regarding critical stakeholders such as young offenders, victims, witnesses, judges, jurors, police, media, other investigators and attorneys.