Relationship with our stakeholder - the Jamaica Constabulary Force (cont'd)

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Over the years other guidelines have been issued dealing with specialised areas such as the custody and control of illegal drugs and the conduct of investigations in facilitation of requests from foreign states for mutual assistance. These however are only mentioned in passing given the scope of this question.

The true and practical boundary in terms of police/prosecutor collaboration is that the prosecutor should never engage in the actual collection of evidence though he is free to and should advise on the sufficiency of the evidence and the appropriateness of the contemplated charges. In practice this means that one would not expect prosecutors to for example:

  1. attend the live scene of a crime to supervise the collection of evidence and statements;
  2. attend identification parades or interviews of suspects;[5]

On the other hand among the kinds of assistance prosecutors quite properly give to the police is advice on:

  1. the adequacy of the evidence;
  2. investigative angles to be pursued;
  3. permissible and impermissible methods of investigation;
  4. whether detention or continued detention of a suspect is or will be lawful;
  5. the necessity for the use of certain procedures e.g. identification parades or Court Orders to obtain necessary evidence; and
  6. against whom charges should or should not be laid.

Prosecutors also collaborate with the police by visiting crime scenes after investigation has been completed but before trial and doing pre-trial interviews when preparing a case for trial. This however does not happen as often as would be desired due to the very heavy case load prosecutors have and the uncertainty as to which of several cases listed for trial will actually commence

Collaboration is also facilitated in specialised areas of law such as extradition, mutual assistance, money laundering, asset forfeiture, intellectual property, Human Trafficking, environment law matters, labour relations and human rights issues with Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions being assigned to separate Units (mentioned below) dealing with these matters and interfacing with the police or investigators from other Agencies as necessary. This specialization is however in addition to the general prosecutorial work to which Counsel in these Units are also assigned.


[1] “It is quite true that counsel for the prosecution throughout a case ought not to struggle for the verdict against a prisoner, but they ought to bear themselves rather in the character of ministers of justice assisting in the administration of justice.” Avory J in R v. Banks [1916] 2 K.B. 621 at 623. While Avory J was speaking in the context of the prosecutor’s conduct of cases in Court, it is accepted that prosecutors must discharge their functions both in and out of court as “ministers of justice.”

[3] In relation to the legality and propriety of investigative activities, but not operational supervision.

[4] Official orders issued to rank and file police personnel from the Office of the Commissioner of Police.

[5] Perhaps the time has come for the police to have in house attorneys who have an intimate knowledge of evidential requirements at trial, to assist in aspects of investigations such as these. This was one of the recommendations made in the summary report of the Workshop on Organized Crime held in Jamaica March 26-27, 2002.


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