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Case details

Powell (Appellant) v Spence (Respondent) (Jamaica)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0050

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of Jamaica

Case summary


  • Can an application to the Resident Magistrate for forfeiture of cash pursuant to section 79 of the Proceeds of Crime Act properly be made by way of a notice supported by an affidavit?
  • If not, does section 190 of the Judicature (Resident Magistrates) Act (Jamaica) empower the Resident Magistrate to cure procedural defects in documents used to commence cash forfeiture proceedings?


Sergeant Powell applied to the Resident Magistrate to forfeit cash seized from Mr Spence. A notice and affidavit were filed in support of that application. The Resident Magistrate dismissed the application, holding that an authorised officer could not apply for the forfeiture of cash by notice and affidavit alone. Plaint and particulars also had to be filed. This rendered the cash forfeiture proceedings a nullity.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Sergeant Powell’s appeal, holding that the failure to follow the correct procedure could not be cured by the Resident Magistrate, since that power is confined to matters properly commenced. Sergeant Powell now appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.



Pilmar Powell


Patrick Anthony Spence



Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Sales, Lord Hamblen

Hearing start date

12 October 2020

Hearing finish date

12 October 2020

Watch hearing
12 Oct 2020 Afternoon session

Judgment details

Judgment date

22 Feb 2021

Neutral citation

[2021] UKPC 5