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Stop and search ruling not binding, says solicitor general

Published:Monday | August 5, 2013 | 7:16 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

Solicitor General Nicole Foster-Pusey says a recent court ruling on the lawfulness of stop and search operations by police personnel is not legally binding.

The legal advice was reportedly given to the Police High Command after it requested clarity on the matter.

In a June ruling, Justice David Batts said the Road Traffic Act did not give the police power to arbitrarily stop and search vehicles and they should cease the activity.

Justice Batts had ruled that the police could only conduct stop-and-search operations under reasonable suspicion.

But the Solicitor General has reportedly advised Police Commissioner Owen Ellington that the ruling by Justice Batts does not set a precedent in relation to the powers of the police to stop and search vehicles.

Foster-Pusey says the ruling is a timely reminder that such procedures should always be carried out with reasonable cause and pursuant to a statutory power.

The Police High Command says it is again reminding members of the force to act professionally and in accordance with the law when conducting stop and search operations.

The Attorney General had previously said the decision was not legally binding as a case of unlawful search was not brought directly before the Court.

The Independent Commission of Investigations had recommended that the police suspend all stop-and-search operations until they are sure the practice conforms to the Constitution.


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