Following last weekend’s release of police body-cam footage that captured an altercation between former MP Dean Jonas and a police officer, the Cabinet will be moving to enact legislation that makes this type of recording admissible in a court of law.
At present, while video footage from phones and camera recordings is allowed as evidence in a court case, there is no protocol addressing body-cam recordings, which would have to be passed under the law governing the submission of evidence.
Therefore, the Cabinet reportedly agreed, at its meeting on Wednesday, March 1, that Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin will take to Parliament an amendment to the Evidence Act that will permit images from police body cameras to be introduced into evidence whenever the need arises.
Last Saturday, February 25, leaked video footage of the altercation that occurred last Thursday, February 23, went into wide public circulation.
In it, the police were seen approaching Jonas and heard announcing that they were conducting investigations into a report.
Jonas, however, became irate and demanded that the officers get off his property. The situation escalated and the officers were forced to detain, arrest and subsequently charge the former parliamentarian.
He has been slapped with four charges: battery on police, making use of threatening language, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
Having made his first appearance in court on Monday, February 27, Jonas will return on Friday, March 3, when his trial is expected to begin.
Some residents say the leaking of the body-cam footage might have backfired on the police, since they have no authority in domestic issues involving children.
Reportedly, police officers who are dealing with such matters are required to take along a social worker who would have the relevant jurisdiction. A source says that only social workers are clothed in the law to remove a child from any property.