Know Your Rights

Standard

The case of the Gay Lodger has raised questions about proper procedures and protocols as it relates to two key areas namely arrest and bail. Taken from the website of Jamaicans For Justice, below is a list of rights and procedures as it relates to these topics.

Included in the list below are numbers for relevant public sector agencies and Human Rights Organizations as it relates to reporting abuse of Rights by agents of the state. We strongly urge members to store numbers in an easily accessible manner.

The relevant Procedures and Rights are:

ARREST

The police should have a warrant before they arrest you. They, however, can arrest you without a warrant if:

a.       you have committed a felony or the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that you are about to commit a felony;

b.      you have committed a dangerous breach of the Peace;

c.       if you refuse to give your name, address, licence to a uniformed police officer after you have committed a road traffic offence.

d.      if you are caught in the act of committing some minor offences.

RIGHTS ON ARREST: N.B. NEVER RESIST ARREST!

§  The police should advise you of the charge against you or if they are not charging you, then they should tell you why they are arresting you.

§  When you are arrested the police should advise you that you do not have to say anything.

§  They should tell you that anything you say can be taken down and given in as evidence.

§  SAY NOTHING UNTIL ADVISED BY A LAWYER.

RIGHTS ON ARREST

FINGERPRINTS AND PHOTOGRAPHS

§  You have a right NOT to have your fingerprints or photograph taken but remember you can agree for them to be taken

§  If you are suspected of being involved in certain serious offences, a Superintendent of police or officer of higher rank can authorize that they be taken.

§  They can be taken if you are deemed incapable of consenting, eg. If you are mentally challenged.

§  A court can also order that your fingerprints be taken

RIGHTS ON ARREST

LEGAL AID

§  When arrested and taken to the police station, the police should ask you if you have an attorney.

§  If do not have an attorney, then he should refer you to a list of ‘Duty Counsel.’ You may choose one to represent you.

§  Duty Counsel is a lawyer who has agreed to provide legal aid assistance to persons arrested.

§  A Duty Counsel is paid by the government – NEVER GIVE DUTY COUNSEL ANY MONEY.

§  Duty Counsel is usually a ‘regular lawyer’ who donates a portion of his/her time to providing legal aid assistance – he/she is not always an Attorney from the Legal Aid Department. Even if he/she is from that department, he/she is equally capable to handle your case.

§  Once you have asked the police to contact Duty Counsel on your behalf, they should not question you until your lawyer arrives.

§  The police should allow Duty Counsel to meet with you somewhere where they cannot hear your conversation.

REMEMBER EVERYTHING YOU SAY TO A LAWYER IS CONFIDENTIAL

§  If there is to be an identification parade ensure that your lawyer is present.

§  If you are charged and the case goes to court, the Duty Counsel does not represent you anymore.

§  You may then make an application for a Legal Aid lawyer; ask the court to appoint you a Legal Aid lawyer or get your own lawyer. The cost for a Legal Aid lawyer is done via a means test to ascertain how much you are able to pay.

RIGHT TO BAIL – POLICE

§  Once you are charged you have a right to bail.

§  Bail must be considered within 24 hours of your being arrested.

§  For most offences bail can be granted by the police. This is known as station bail.

§  If you are charged with an offence for which you cannot be imprisoned then the policeSHOULD in most cases grant you bail.

RIGHT TO BAIL – COURT

§  If police deny you bail you can request bail before a Resident Magistrate (RM).

§  If you are charged with an offence for which the police cannot grant you bail then ask to be taken to a judge as soon as possible.

§  Under the 2010 amendments to the Bail Act, persons charged with serious offences under the “Second Schedule” will not have bail considered for 60 days if they have already been convicted of an offence under that Schedule. The “Second Schedule” makes mention of serious convictions such as certain offences under the Dangerous Drugs Act, Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act, Child Care and Protection Act (trafficking of children), Offences Against the Person Act and Perverting the Course of Justice.

§  When you are charged with an offence under the “Second Schedule” and you are in custody during the 60 day period, you should be brought before the court 7 days after you were charged and then every 14 days thereafter for the court to review your bail application.

§  If a court denied bail at first, you can keep applying to the same court or you can apply to a judge of the Supreme Court

TO GET BAIL

§  One (1) passport-sized picture signed by a Justice of the Peace (J.P.)

§  A valid form of identification

a.       National ID

b.      Drivers’ Licence

c.       Passport

§  Two (2) letters of recommendation

a.       JP

b.      Sergeant of police or police of higher rank

§  Collateral

a.       Motor vehicle statement

b.      Land title without caveat

c.       Bank statement

§  Proof of Address

a.       A recent utility bill

NB. There are changes expected with what is acceptable documentation

WHERE TO LODGE COMPLAINTS

If the police abuse you in any way you may lodge a complaint with:-

§  Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ)

2 Fagan Avenue, Kingston 8, Jamaica, West Indies. Tel:(876)755-4524-6 | Fax: (876) 755-4355

§  Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights (IJCHR)

(876) 967-1204

131 Tower Street, Kingston

Jamaica W.I.

§  Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) formerly known as the Police Public Complaints Authority (PPCA)

1-888-FOR-HELP (367 – 4357)

Ground and First Floors 45-47 Barbados Avenue in Kingston or Ground Floor 42 Market Street, Montego Bay, St James

§  The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals and Gays

Tel/ Fax: (876)978-8988
Digicel: (876)379-9834

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