1   Short title

   2   Interpretation

   3   Provisions as to active service

   4   Establishment of Jamaica Defence Force

   5   Employment of Defence Force

   6   Formation into units

   7   Employment of Defence Force outside Jamaica

   8   Overseas training


Jamaica Defence Board

   9   Establishment of Defence Board

   10   Membership of Defence Board

   11   Secretary of Defence Board

   12   Performance of functions of Defence Board



   13   Conditions of appointing officers

   14   Power to grant commissions

   15   Appointment and transfer of officers

   16   Power to make regulations for this Part


Enlistment and Terms of Service in the Regular Force Enlistment

   17   Recruiting Officers

   18   Enlistment


Terms and Conditions of service

   19   Terms of enlistment

   20   Re-engagement and continuance in service

   21   Prolongation of service


Discharge and Transfer to the Reserve

   22   Discharge

   23   Transfer to the Reserve

   24   Postponement of discharge or transfer pending proceedings for offences, etc

   25   Restrictions on reduction-in rank of warrant officers and non-commissioned officers

   26   Right of warrant officer to discharge on reduction in rank

   27   Discharge upon prescribed grounds

   28   Right of soldier to purchase discharge

   29   Further provisions relating to purchase


Miscellaneous and supplementary provisions

   30   Rules for reckoning service

   31   Validity of attestation and enlistment

   32   False answers in attestation papers

   33   Interpretation


Discipline and Trial and Punishment of Military Offences
Treachery, cowardice and offences arising out of military service

   34   Aiding the enemy

   35   Communication with the enemy

   36   Cowardly behaviour

   37   Offences against morale

   38   Becoming a prisoner of war through disobedience or wilful neglect; and failure to rejoin forces

   39   Offences by or in relation to sentries, etc

   40   Looting


Mutiny and Insubordination

   41   Mutiny

   42   Failure to suppress mutiny

   43   Insubordinate behaviour

   44   Disobedience to particular orders

   45   Obstruction of provost officers

   46   Disobedience to standing orders


Desertion, absence without leave, etc

   47   Desertion

   48   Absence without leave

   49   Assisting and concealing desertion and absence without leave

   50   Failure to perform military duties


Malingering and drunkenness

   51   Malingering

   52   Drunkenness


Offences relating to property

   53   Offences in relation to public and service property

   54   Offences in relation to property of members of forces

   55   Miscellaneous offences relating to property


Flying, etc offences

   56   Dangerous flying, etc

   57   Inaccurate certification of aircraft, etc

   58   Low flying

   59   Annoyance by flying


Offences relating to, and by, persons in custody

   60   Irregular arrest and confinement

   61   Permitting escape, and unlawful release of prisoners

   62   Resistance to arrest

   63   Escape from confinement


Offences in relation to Courts-martial and civil authorities

   64   Offences in relation to Courts-martial

   65   False evidence

   66   Obstruction of police officer arresting officer or soldier


Miscellaneous Offences

   67   Injurious disclosures

   68   Making of false statements on enlistment

   69   Making of false documents

   70   Scandalous conduct of officer

   71   Ill-treatment of officers or men of inferior rank

   72   Disgraceful conduct

   73   False accusation

   74   Attempts to commit military offences

   75   Conduct to prejudice of military discipline


Civil Offences

   76   Civil offences



   77   Punishment of officers

   78   Punishment of soldiers

   79   Field punishment

   80   Imprisonment



   81   Power to arrest offenders

   82   Provisions for avoiding delay after arrest


Investigation of, and summary dealing with, charges

   83   Investigation of charges by commanding officer

   84   Charges to be dealt with summarily or by Court-martial

   85   Further proceedings on charges against noncommissioned officers and soldiers

   86   Further proceedings on charges against officers and warrant officers

   87   Dismissal of charges referred to higher authority

   88   Officers who are to act as commanding officers and appropriate superior authorities

   89   Limitation on powers of summary dealing with charges


Court-martial: general provisions

   90   Trial by, and powers of, ordinary Court-martial

   91   Trial by, and powers of, field Court-martial

   92   Officers having powers to convene Courts-martial

   93   Constitution of ordinary Courts-martial

   94   Constitution of field Courts-martial

   95   Supplementary provisions as to constitution of Courts-martial

   96   Place for sitting of Courts-martial and adjournment to other places


Courts-martial: provisions relating to trial

   97   Challenges by accused

   98   Administration of oaths

   99   Courts-martial to sit in open Court

   100   Dissolution of Courts-martial

   101   Decisions of Courts-martial

   102   Finding and sentence

   103   Power to convict of offence other than that charged

   104   Rules of evidence

   105   Privilege of witnesses and others at Courts-martial

   106   Offences by civilians in relation to Courts-martial

   107   Affirmations


Confirmation, revision and review of proceedings of Courts-martial

   108   Confirmation of proceedings of Courts-martial

   109   Petitions against finding or sentence

   110   Revision of findings of Courts-martial

   111   Powers of confirming authorities

   112   Confirming authorities

   113   Approval of death sentence by Governor-General

   114   Review of findings and sentences of Courts-martial

   115   Reconsideration of sentences of imprisonment and detention


Review of Summary Findings and Awards

   116   Review of summary findings and awards


Findings of insanity, etc

   117   Provisions where accused found insane


Commencement, suspension and duration of sentences

   118   Commencement of sentences

   119   Duration of sentences of imprisonment or detention

   120   Restrictions on serving of sentences of detention in prisons

   121   Special provisions as to civil prisons in Jamaica

   122   Special provisions as to carrying out or serving of sentences outside Jamaica

   123   Country in which sentence of imprisonment or detention to be served

   124   Duties of officers in charge of prisons and others to receive prisoners


Trial of persons ceasing to be subject to military law under this
Act and time limited for trials

   125   Trial and punishment of offences under this Act notwithstanding offender ceasing to be subject thereto

   126   Limitation of time for trial of offences under this Act


Relations between military and civil Courts and finality of trials

   127   Powers of civil Courts

   128   Persons not to be tried under this Act for offences already disposed of



   129   Boards of Inquiry

   130   Inquiries into absence


Miscellaneous Provisions

   131   Restitution or compensation for theft, etc

   132   Appointment of Judge Advocates

   133   Promulgation

   134   Custody of proceedings of Court-martial and right of accused to a copy thereof

   135   Indemnity for prison officers, etc


Interpretation of this Part

   136   Interpretation of Part V


Rules of Procedure, etc

   137   Rules of Procedure

   138   Imprisonment and Detention Regulations

   139   Board of Inquiry Rules

   140   Miscellaneous Regulations


Appeals from Courts-martial

   141   Right of Appeal

   142   Procedure for applying for leave to appeal or lodging appeal

   143   Determination of appeals in ordinary cases

   144   Powers of Court of Appeal in special cases

   145   Commencement of sentence

   146   Appeals to be final

   147   Proceedings may be heard in absence of appellants

   148   Defence of appeals

   149   Right of appellant to present his case in writing

   150   Suspension of death sentence

   151   Person not to be tried again where conviction quashed

   152   Removal of prisoners for purposes of this Part

   153   Furnishing, on appeal, of documents relating to trial

   154   Duties of Registrar of Court of Appeal with respect to appeals, etc

   155   Saving of powers of reviewing authorities

   156   Composition of Court of Appeal

   157   Exercise of certain powers of Court of Appeal by a judge

   158   General provisions as to procedure


Forfeitures and Deductions

   159   Forfeitures and deductions; general provisions

   160   Forfeiture of pay for absence from duty

   161   Deductions for payment of civil penalties

   162   Compensation for loss occasioned by wrongful act or negligence

   163   Deductions for barrack damage

   164   Review of orders and remission of forfeitures and deductions

   165   Enforcement of maintenance and affiliation orders by deduction from pay

   166   Deductions from pay for maintenance of wife or child

   167   Limit of deductions under sections 165 and 166 and effect on forfeiture

   168   Service of process in maintenance proceedings


Government and General Provisions Command

   169   Command and precedence

   170   Command of Force

   171   Regulations as to command

   172   Powers of command of members of cooperating forces


Redress of Complaints

   173   Complaints by officers

   174   Complaints by soldiers


Exemptions for officers and soldiers

   175   Exemptions from jury service

   176   Exemptions from tolls, etc

   177   Exemption from taking in execution of property used for military purposes


Provisions relating to deserters and absentees without leave

   178   Arrest of deserters and absentees without leave

   179   Proceedings before a civil Court where persons suspected of illegal absence

   180   Deserters and absentees without leave surrendering to police

   181   Certificates of arrest or surrender of deserters and absentees

   182   Duties of superintendents of prisons and others to receive deserters and absentees


Offences relating to military matters punishable by civil Courts

   183   Punishment for pretending to be a deserter

   184   Punishment for procuring and assisting desertion

   185   Punishment for obstructing officers or soldiers in execution of duty

   186   Punishment for aiding malingering

   187   Unlawful purchase, etc of military stores

   188   Illegal dealings in documents relating to pay, pensions, mobilization, etc

   189   Unauthorised use of and dealing in decorations, etc


Provisions as to evidence

   190   General provisions as to evidence

   191   Proof of outcome of civil trial

   192   Evidence of proceedings of Court-martial


Miscellaneous provisions

   193   Temporary reception in civil custody of persons under escort

   194   Avoidance of assignment of, or charge on military pay, pensions, etc

   195   Power of certain officers to take statutory declarations


The Jamaica National Reserve

   196   Composition of Jamaica National Reserve

   197   Enlistment and re-engagement in the Reserve

   198   Training of Reserve

   199   Call out of first class of Reserve on temporary service

   200   Call out of Reserve on permanent service

   201   Attendance upon call out

   202   Effective time of call out

   203   Termination of service

   204   Posting or attachment of members of Reserve

   205   Punishment for non-attendance

   206   Wrongful sale, etc of public property

   207   Discharge from Reserve

   208   Application of Parts V and VII


Application of this Act and Supplementary Provision

   209   Persons subject to military law

   210   Application of Act to civilians

   211   Application of the Act

   212   Power to make regulations

   213   Powers exercisable in subsidiary legislation

   214   Execution of orders, instruments, etc

   215   Transitional




[Date of Commencement: 31st July, 1962]

Law 12 of 1962.

3 of 1967,
8 of 1969,
41 of 1971,
12 of 1977,
14 of 1994.


1   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Defence Act.

2   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

   "the Act" means the Army Act, 1955, of the United Kingdom as amended from time to time and any enactment substituted therefor;

   "acting rank" means rank of any description (however called) such that under regulations under section 212 a commanding officer has power to order the holder to revert from that rank; and "acting warrant officer" and "acting non-commissioned officer", shall be construed accordingly;

   "aircraft" means any machine for flying, whether propelled by mechanical means or not, and includes any description of balloon;

"aircraft material" includes-

   (a)   parts of, and components of or accessories for, aircraft, whether for the time being in aircraft or not;

   (b)   engines, armaments, ammunition and bombs and other missiles of any description in, or for use in, aircraft;

   (c)   any other gear, apparatus or instruments in, or for use in, aircraft;

   (d)   any apparatus used in connection with the taking-off or landing of aircraft or for detecting the movement of aircraft; and

   (e)   any fuel used for the propulsion of aircraft and any material used as a lubricant for aircraft or aircraft material;

   "appropriate superior authority" has the meaning assigned to it by subsection (1) of section 84 and subsection (2) of section 88;

   "arrest" includes open arrest;

   "before the enemy" in relation to a person, means that he is in action against the enemy or about to go into action against the enemy or is under attack or threat of imminent attack by the enemy;

   "Board of Inquiry Rules" means rules made by the Defence Board under section 139;

   "civil Court" means a Court of ordinary criminal jurisdiction, but does not, except where otherwise expressly provided, include any such Court outside the Commonwealth;

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