CORONERS ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

   1   Short title

 

PART I
Preliminary

   2   Preservation of existing jurisdiction, practice, etc

   3   Interpretation

 

Coroner

   4   Resident Magistrate ex officio Coroner

   5   Deputy Coroner

 

Special Coroner

      Establishment of Office of the Special Coroner

   5B   Jurisdiction and functions of Special Coroner

 

Designated Police Officer

   5C   Assignment of designated police officer

 

Proceedings Leading up to Inquest

   6   Order for post mortem examinations

   7   Investigation by police

      Report of investigation by designated police officer

   8   Post mortem examination

   9   Report of medical practitioner, burial of body

   10   Appropriate Coroner's powers in cases of delay

   11   Appropriate Coroner to summon jury

   12   Transfer of jurisdiction to appropriate Coroner

   13   Appropriate Coroner may postpone holding of inquest in certain cases

      Power to act as Coroner on termination of criminal proceedings

   14   Appropriate Coroner may abstain from holding inquests in certain case

   15   Report to Director of Public Prosecutions when no inquest held

   16   Appropriate Coroner may hold inquest without a jury

   17   Procedure where body destroyed or irrecoverable

 

Inquest

   18   The appropriate Coroner or jury need not view the body: but the appropriate Coroner may order exhumation

   19   Proceedings at inquest

   20   Arrest of person charged in inquisition with murder or manslaughter

      Delivery of inquisition to Clerk of the Courts.

   21   Judge of Supreme Court may order inquest

 

PART II
Supplemental

Procedure

   22   Inquisition to be under hand and seal of the appropriate Coroner and jurors

      Inquisition written or printed

      Recognizances

      Accused persons entitled to copies of inquisition and evidence

      Power to summon and compel attendance and testimony of witnesses

   22B   Power of Coroner to order production of documents, etc

   22C   Entitlement to examine witnesses

   22D   Power to deal with misbehaviour in Court

   23   Penalty for non-attendance or refusal to serve or testify as juror or witness

      Admissibility of written statement at inquest

   23B   Admissibility of first-hand hearsay statements at inquest

   23C   Admissibility of computer evidence constituting hearsay at inquest

   23D   Admissibility of computer evidence not constituting hearsay

   24   Inquisition not to be quashed for defects. Power to amend and procedure thereon. Respite of Recognizances on postponement of trial

 

Miscellaneous

   25   Removal of dead bodies

   26   Quarterly returns of inquests and other reported deaths

   27   Minister may prohibit holding of inquests in certain cases

   28   Correction of error in certified copy of medical report for registration

   29   Extortion, corruption, wilful neglect, etc by Coroner

   30   Treasure trove

   31   Limitation of Coroner's jurisdiction

   32   Expenses of jurors

   33   Subsistence allowance

   34   Regulations

      SCHEDULE

 

THE CORONERS ACT

[Date of Commencement: 12th June, 1900]

Cap 77.

Acts
51 of 1964,
42 of 1969,
23 of 1971,
20 of 1976,
6 of 1982,
10 of 1999,
19 of 2000,
6 of 2005,
2 of 2009.

1   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Coroners Act.

PART I
Preliminary (sections 2-21)

2   Preservation of existing jurisdiction, practice, etc

   Save in so far as is inconsistent with this Act, any principle or rule of law, or established jurisdiction, practice, or procedure, or existing usage or custom, shall notwithstanding the repeal of any enactment by this Act, remain in full force.

3    Interpretation

   In this Act-

   "agent of the State" means-

   (a)   a person who is a member of-

         (i)   the Jamaica Constabulary Force;

         (ii)   the Jamaica Defence Force, except when acting in time of war;

         (iii)   the Island Special Constabulary Force; and

         (iv)   the Rural Police;

   (b)   a person appointed as a parish Special Constable pursuant to the Constables (Special) Act;

   (c)   a correctional officer;

   (d)   an officer within the meaning of section 2 of the Customs Act; and

   (e)   such other public officer, as the Minister may by order specify, being a person upon whom is conferred any of the powers, authority and privileges as are conferred by law on a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force;

[2/2009 s 2.]

   "the appropriate Coroner" means-

   (a)   the Office of the Special Coroner, in any case where there is reasonable cause to suspect that death occurred as a result of the act or omission of an agent of the State; or

   (b)   subject to section 5B, in any other case, the Coroner having jurisdiction for the relevant parish pursuant to section 4,

and references, in any other enactment, to a Coroner shall be construed to mean the appropriate Coroner;

[2/2009 s 2.]

   "murder" includes the offence of being an accessory before the fact to a murder;

   "the Office" means the Office of the Special Coroner established under section 5A.

[2/2009 s 2.]

Coroner (sections 4-5)

4   Resident Magistrate ex officio Coroner

   (1) Subject to sections 5A and 5B, the officer for the time being discharging the duties of Resident Magistrate for any parish shall ex officio be the Coroner of such parish:

[20/1976 s 2(a); 2/2009 s 3.]

   Provided that where such officer has and exercises the jurisdiction of the Resident Magistrate's Court in more than one parish, it shall be lawful for the Minister to prescribe the area over which as Coroner such officer's jurisdiction shall extend.

   (2) Subject to sections 5A and 5B, the parish of Kingston and the parish of St. Andrew shall for the purposes of this Act be deemed to form one parish and accordingly a Resident Magistrate for either parish shall have jurisdiction as a Coroner over both parishes and an inquest in respect of a death occurring in either parish may be held at the discretion of the Coroner either in Kingston or in St. Andrew as the Coroner thinks fit.

[20/1976 s 2(b); 2/2009 s 3.]

5   Deputy Coroner

   (1) It shall be lawful for the Coroner, when prevented by illness, or any lawful or reasonable cause from holding an inquest himself, to appoint the Clerk of the Courts, to hold such inquest in his stead; but in any such case the Coroner shall, within fourteen days of making any such appointment, send a duplicate of such appointment to the Minister together with a statement of the reasons for his not having held the inquest himself.

   (2) The deputy so appointed shall have all the rights, powers and jurisdiction of a Coroner, and generally be subject to the provisions of this Act in like manner as a Coroner.

Special Coroner (sections 5A-5B)

5A   Establishment of Office of the Special Coroner

   (1) There is hereby established an Office of the Special Coroner.

   (2) The Office shall be constituted by the following persons appointed by the Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission-

   (a)   the Special Coroner, who shall be in charge of the administration and operations of the Office; and

   (b)   such number of Assistant Special Coroners as may be necessary for the efficient administration and operation of the Office.

   (3) A person shall not be qualified for appointment under subsection (2) unless that person is a Resident Magistrate and possesses the qualifications for appointment as a Senior Resident Magistrate.

   (4) The office of the Special Coroner shall be provided with such staff as is necessary for the efficient administration and operation of the Office as determined by the Special Coroner.

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