Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says the recently published, 'The Decision to Prosecute: A Jamaican Protocol', by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), speaks to the supreme importance of transparency in Jamaica’s justice system.
In his remarks at the official launch of the document at the Norman Manley Law School, at the University of the West Indies, on April 13, the Justice Minister described the publication as a first for Jamaica, and a major development in the country’s justice system.
For his part, National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, while embracing the document as a positive move in the direction of transparency and accountability, described the protocol as “a practical and useful guide for prosecutors and investigators…and should serve to truncate the (judicial) process and reduce bottlenecks and backlog in the justice system."
The Minister charged every policeman and woman to “familiarise themselves with the protocol." He noted that already, each police division was assigned a lawyer to investigate case files before submission for prosecution.
‘The Decision to Prosecute: A Jamaican Protocol’, hailed by the legal fraternity as a critical intervention in the justice system,has been ascribed “a landmark event” by DPP, Paula Llewellyn.
"From my appointment as DPP in March 2008, I became fully aware of the public's clamour for transparency and accountability. Notwithstanding the independence of the office of the DPP, part of our function as public officers obligates us to answer this need for transparency and accountability," she said.
"This protocol is another step in the process of providing that sought for and promised fuller transparency. It will be a living document, which will be revised periodically to reflect local and international developments in prosecutorial practices and relevant laws," she added.
Miss Llewellyn emphasised that the decision to prosecute is one of the most important decisions the prosecutor had to make, hence great care ought to be taken in each case.
The protocol is designed to break down and explain legal terminologies, how the prosecutorial system actually works and what influences the decisions to prosecute a case. In addition, it provides a detailed picture of how prosecutors in Jamaica approach the decision-making process; and reflects current local and international prosecutorial practices.
The Jamaican protocol was developed in partnership with the Crown Prosecution Service in England, through the facilitation of the British High Commission in Jamaica.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter