ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1 Short title
2 Preservation of existing jurisdiction, practice, etc
4 Resident Magistrate ex officio Coroner
5 Deputy 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
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
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
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
22 Inquisition to be under hand and seal of the appropriate Coroner and jurors
Inquisition written or printed
Accused persons entitled to copies of inquisition and evidence
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
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
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
THE CORONERS ACT
[Date of Commencement: 12th June, 1900]
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.
This Act may be cited as the Coroners Act.
Preliminary (sections 2-21)
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.
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)
(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.]
(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)
(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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