The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is created by Section 94 of the Jamaica (Constitution) Order in Council 1962 (hereinafter referred to as “The Constitution”). The Office is described as a public office.  Further, Section 94 (2) sets out the qualification of the Director of Public Prosecutions (hereinafter referred to as the “DPP”) by stipulating that the holder of the Office should be the equivalent to a Judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature.

Section 94 (3) prescribes the powers of the DPP, which are as follows: -

  1. to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court other than a court-martial in respect of any offence against the law of Jamaica;
  1. to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or authority;
  1. to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by himself or any other person or authority.

Section 94 (5) states that the powers conferred upon the DPP shall be vested in her to the exclusion of any other person or authority.

Section 94(6) expressly guarantees that the DPP shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority

Section 277 of the Judicature (Resident Magistrate’s) Act states that in cases before the Resident Magistrate’s Court (hereinafter referred to as the “RM Court”) the DPP in writing may issue instructions to a Resident Magistrates (hereinafter referred to as the “RM”) to either adjourn a case or deal with it as one for the Circuit Court and the RM shall deal with the case accordingly. However, this power can only be exercised before the Accused person states his defence.

Section 289 of the Judicature (Resident Magistrates) Act also stipulates that the DPP may give instructions to the Clerk of Court to prosecute any case that falls within the jurisdiction of the RM.

Section 15 (1) of The Coroner’s Act stipulates that a Coroner who has abstained from holding an inquest because there is no reason for suspecting that any person is criminally responsible for the death of the deceased shall submit the medical and police reports together with a statement of his own views to the DPP.

Section 15 (2) of The Coroner’s Act states that the DPP may on receipt of such reports and statement direct the Coroner to hold such an inquest “and the coroner shall obey such direction.”

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