§ Mr. Allaun
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the system by which a clerk of a court in a petty sessional court of justices of the peace in Jamaica both advises the justices on law and at the same time conducts prosecutions thereon, and that this procedure is open to objection; and whether he will take immediate steps to end this situation.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The petty sessional courts in Jamaica are usually presided over by lay magistrates. In police cases the witnesses for the prosecution may he examined by a deputy clerk or assistant clerk of the courts. If the justices require to be advised on the law the prosecuting officer does do so in open court and the accused, his counsel or solicitor, hears the advice tendered and has the opportunity of commenting on it. In no circumstances does the prosecuting officer retire with the justices if they find it necessary to do so. if after they are advised by the clerk the lay magistrates are still uncertain as to the law to be applied, they seek the advice of the resident magistrate. I see no call for change in this procedure.