Case details

Commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations (Appellant) v Police Federation and others (Respondents) (Jamaica)

Case ID: JCPC 2019/0098

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of Jamaica

Case summary

Issue(s)
  1. Whether the Independent Commission of Investigations Act (Jamaica) ("ICIA") or any other statute or the common law empowers the Independent Commission of Investigations ("INDECOM"), the Commissioner of INDECOM (the "Commissioner") and/or INDECOM’s investigative staff to arrest and/or initiate a prosecution against any person in respect of any offence arising from a completed or ongoing INDECOM investigation.
  2. Whether any (and, if so, what) limitations or restrictions arise in respect of such a prosecution or its initiation.
  3. Whether a claim of uncertainty about the lawfulness of a request made by an INDECOM investigator can amount to a lawful justification for failure to comply with that request.
  4. Whether a claim by a police officer that he or she is following the instruction of a superior officer can amount to a lawful justification for failure to comply with a request made by an INDECOM investigator.
Facts

In October 2011, the Police Federation, Merrick Watson (Chairman of the Police Officers Association), the Special Constabulary Force Association and Delroy Davis (President of the United District Constables Association) brought a claim in the Supreme Court of Jamaica seeking administrative order(s) and/or constitutional redress under section 25 of the Constitution of Jamaica on two main grounds. The first was that the Commissioner had purported to exercise powers of arrest and charge for criminal offences pursuant to section 20 of the ICIA which were unfounded on any reasonable interpretation of the Act, as against the Constitution of Jamaica, or under the common law. The second was that the Commissioner’s claim to and exercise of powers of arrest and charge were contrary to the Police Service Regulations and infringed on the claimants’ legitimate expectation to a ruling from the Director of Public Prosecutions before members of the Police Force are arrested and charged for any criminal offence.

The claim was unsuccessful before the Supreme Court of Jamaica, although the court did accept (as was agreed between the parties) that the ICIA did not confer a power to charge. The claimants appealed to the Court of Appeal of Jamaica, which reversed the decision of the Supreme Court of Jamaica in part. The Commissioner now appeals to Her Majesty in Council.

In separate circumstances in November 2013, Albert Diah, a Deputy Superintendent of Police employed by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, was charged with two offences under section 33 of the ICIA. The prosecution was initiated by Dave Lewin, Director of Complaints of INDECOM. Mr Diah was convicted in October 2014 and sentenced the following month. He appealed successfully to the Court of Appeal of Jamaica, which quashed his conviction and set aside his sentence. Mr Lewin now appeals to Her Majesty in Council.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations

Respondent(s)
  1. Police Federation
  2. Merrick Watson (Chairman of the Police Officers Association)
  3. Special Constabulary Force Association
  4. Delroy Davis (President of the United District Constables Association)

Appeal

Justices

Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

03 Feb 2020

Hearing finish date

04 Feb 2020

Watch hearing
03 Feb 2019 Morning session Afternoon session
04 Feb 2019 Morning session Afternoon session