The Jamaican (Constitution) Order in Council 1962 Section 94 established the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and its jurisdiction.
Under Section 94(3)(a-c) the Director of Public Prosecutions has the power to initiate, authorize, take over and terminate prosecutions in all the courts in the island.
THE MISSION OF THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
The Mission of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is to fulfill its constitutional mandate by providing the people of Jamaica with an independent, professional and effective prosecution service that operates with integrity, inspires public trust and confidence and safeguards the administration of justice throughout the island of Jamaica.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE DEPARTMENT
The objectives of the Department are as follows:-
• To present criminal cases before the courts in a timely manner
• To provide the citizens of Jamaica with a professional prosecutorial service that is fair and just to both victims and the accused persons
• To collaborate with law enforcement officers in facilitating the efficient collection, processing and presentation of evidence for the courts
• To mentor legal and administrative staff so that they can maximize their true potential and be motivated to remain with the Department
• To continue to provide the facilities to expose prosecutors to the most recent legal authorities and to improve the necessary skills and techniques to enhance their prosecutorial capabilities
• To deliver urgent rulings within a day of receipt and general rulings within three months of receipt into the Office on citizens’ complaints in respect of police excesses and/or fatal shootings.
FUNCTIONS OF THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
By virtue of section 94 (3) (a-c) the DPP has the power to initiate, authorise, take over and terminate prosecutions in all courts in the island.
Section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act empowers the DPP to discontinue criminal proceedings during the trial process.
The functions of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions are:-
• To prosecute all criminal cases in the Supreme Court and the 12 Rural Parish Circuits
• To represent the Crown in criminal appeals in the Appeal Court and the Privy Council.
• To prosecute matters of complexity and or exceptional public interest in the Resident Magistrates’ Courts and making itself available to advise and mentor Clerk of Courts in the Resident Magistrates’ Court who prosecute criminal cases.
• To be responsible for drafting legal documents, preparing legal opinions, giving advice to the public, Government agencies and law enforcement personnel.
In addition the Department has Units which have clearly defined areas of responsibility. They are as follows:-
Facilitates the return of fugitive offenders (accused and convicted persons) to the jurisdictions where they have committed crimes or escaped custody and from which they have fled (N.B. Only jurisdictions with whom we have a treaty and commonwealth states named in the Commonwealth States Order)
Mutual Legal Assistance & Financial Crimes
Executes and coordinating requests for assistance to and from foreign countries. The Unit also handles/prosecutes matters involving money laundering and proceeds of crimes. Advise financial crimes investigators. (N.B. Requests are made/accepted from treaty states and designated Commonwealth States)
Human Rights & Intellectual Property
Plays an integral role in the drafting of legislation pertaining to human rights and can initiate investigations into intellectual property and human rights violations in conjunction with OCID. Also prosecutes in the concerned areas. Represents the Office on the National Task Force for Trafficking in Persons
Answers queries from Solicitors in the UK who have charge of appeals from this jurisdiction. Research and prepare matters for Counsel in office who go to the Privy Council
Corruption Prevention & Coroners Matters and Contractor General
Handles all files that come to the Office for rulings concerning breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act and the Contractor General Act. Unit members should have a working knowledge of both Acts. Prosecute in difficult cases which may be submitted to the Resident Magistrate’s Court in the concerned areas. Vet and sign off on coroner rulings by Crown Counsel. Provide advice to Crown Counsel and members of the JCF in coroners matters
Labour Relations & Industrial Disputes
Handles all files that come to the Office for ruling in labour disputes. Advise Clerks of Court on trial matters and prosecute in difficult cases which may be submitted to the Resident Magistrate’s Court. Handles matters at the appellate level.
Prosecutes and advises on matters of Environmental concern
Prepares and research comments from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on proposed legislation touching and concerning criminal law
Clerk of Courts Liasion
Forms linkages to sensitize Clerks of Courts to certain prosecutorial practices in respect of prosecuting complex criminal matters
Home Circuit Administration
Administers the Home Circuit Court (Corporate Area and Supreme Court) i.e. the setting of mention and trial dates of all the criminal cases for each week as well as the allocation of matters to the 4 different court rooms and makes the approximately 390 criminal cases trial ready
Gun Court Matters
Liaises with the Administrators of the Gun Court and Crown Counsel prosecuting in the Gun Court in order to enhance operational efficiencies