The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) does not have the authority to arrest, charge or prosecute.
This is according to a ruling handed down by the Privy Council. INDECOM had gone to the Privy Council in a bid to initiate criminal prosecutions.
However, the Privy Council ruled that INDECOM has the power to bring action where its investigations are being obstructed without lawful justification.
“There is nothing in the 2010 Act to suggest that it was intended that the Commission should perform any function in relation to the prosecution of incident offences,” the panel of judges said in a judgment.
It described incident offences as those matters which form the basis of INDECOM investigations.
Writing on behalf of the court, Lord Lloyd-Jones, ruled that INDECOM is an investigative body and that it would have been “surprising” if Parliament intended it to prosecute without making any provision in the law to support that.
According to the judgment, prosecution is the function of the Director of Public Prosecutions.