JP regulations not in force

| 24/10/2014

(CNS): Although government committed to regularizing and training justices of the peace as well as implementing a code of conduct to prevent police using JPs with no legal knowledge to sign questionable warrants, the new regime has not been implemented. A local attorney who is trying to complain about yet another failure of procedure regarding a warrant has been told that his complaint cannot be addressed because, despite public announcements about their implementation, the regulations are not in force. The need to address the JP system was also one of a list of conditions from the FCO in 2009 tied to its approval of the UDP government’s borrowing in the 2010 budget.

Five years later, despite announcements regarding a new regime and training for all JPs, the creation of a code of conduct, as well as a commitment from the police to only use judges, magistrates or JPs with legal qualifications for warrants, it appears that JPs who have no understanding of law continue to sign off on warrants with no questions asked.

Criminal defence attorney, Peter Polack, said it took three months for Legal Services and Judicial Administration to advise him that the JP regulations are not in force. With a criminal complaint pending over a warrant signed by a JP incorrectly and not in line with procedure, leading to an illegal search, Polack has reported his concerns the complaints commissioner and now the deputy governor.

The case, which deals with a client of Polack’s facing charges relating to drug offences, is now expected to be delayed as a result of the failure of anyone to address his complaint because of the claims that there are still no rules relating to JPs. Polack is now planning to summon the deputy governor in his client’s case in Summary Court next month.

The latest failing in government’s management systems comes after a long questionable history about the misuse of JPs by the police in various circumstances. This first came to the public’s attention in a significant way following the arrest of a high court judge, some six years ago, during the now infamous Operation Tempura internal police probe.

Grand Court Judge Alexander Henderson was arrested on24  September 2008 on suspicion of misconduct in public office based on a warrant signed by Carson Ebanks, a JP who had no legal qualifications and did not understand the law. A court later found that the judge was arrested unlawfully and was awarded damages from the public purse in excess of $1.2 million.

Along with a number of other infringements over the years, further problems were exposed in a more recent case. Local activist Sandra Catron, while defending herself in a judicial review after she was arrested for crimes relating to the misuse of an ICT network, also demonstrated that police were using JPs with absolutely no comprehension of the laws relating to the warrants they were signing.

In her case, the court heard that the JP had never once refused to sign a warrant or question anything to do with them over the course of two decades. He also admitted knowing nothing about the law, the evidence or anything else relating tothe warrant he had signed. As a result the warrant was thrown out.

Despite assurances from the RCIPS and the deputy governor’s office that things would change, Polack’s client was arrested and his home searched under what turned out to be yet another illegal warrant. 

The failure to implement the regulations leaves the public without any course of redress when the police continue to execute illegal warrants, misuse of power by the police and ultimately possible miscarriages of justice. With the implementation of the Bill of Rights in the Cayman constitution, it also exposes government and the public purse to potentially very costly human rights challenges.

The new JP regime was also noted in a letter from Chris Bryant, the then overseas territories minister, in 2009 approving the 2010 budget on the basis of a number of conditions.

The new regulations establish a Code of Conduct for Justices of the Peace and a procedure for making a complaint about their conduct. Five years later there is still no such regulations in place and nothing to prevent abuse.

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Category: Crime

Comments (37)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    …commitment from the police to only use judges, magistrates or JPs with legal qualifications for warrants…

    JPs should be classified – those with legal qualifications and those without.  

     

  2. Anonymous says:

    Amend the relevant law and regulations to state that only judges or magistrates can sign to authorize a search warrant.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And in other news today, absolutely nothing changed in Cayman, except for possibly sliding even further down the slippery slope.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ah yes start by making sure the JP can read and wright. I would suggest by starting out with a little test just to see. Perhaps they can read out loud a newspaper. You will be suprised how sad it is to see a grown man whom cant read.    Please do this in private

    • Anonymous says:

       16:56.It is equally as sad to watch someone make an ass of themselves ,while attempting to mock others.Read and wright?.Did you mean read and write?  Perhaps next time you should do your mocking in private.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If this legislation falls under the remit of the Attorney General is it any surprise it has not yet been done. He is the poster boy for procrastination. Unlike Mr. Panton who walks the walk and not only talk.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Notary Publics are entitled to charge for their services, Justices of the Peace are not.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hey when governmental credit cards are given out with no guidelines who can be surprised that the JPs haven't a clue what is going on or what to do.

    Sandard Operating Procedure for Cayman

    • Anonymous says:

      08:32.You know what is truly amazing;the amount of persons who think Cayman is so terrible,yet you can't get them to leave.They will fight to the death to stay here ,rather than return to the land of their birth.Go figure.

  8. Anonymous says:



    You think they understood the training material? If they do not understand it they cannot enforce it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Once again, no surprise here!

    How do so many highly paid decision makers continue year after year to cost us all so much, all while talking about "Good Governance", and yet no one is held to any meaningful account?

     

  10. Anonymous says:

    Criminal attorneys work to get criminals off.  Beware when they complain.  All reforms to help good people are opposed by defence lawyers.

    • Anonymous says:

      All the more reason for "the powers that be" to have all procedures and regulations in place….and in practice!

  11. Dr. Do - Little - Too -Late says:

    Why do we even waste the time trying to explain all the reasons why these things are happening on our Island, when we can say it all in one word:

                                         "C      O      R      R      U      P      T      I      O      N"

  12. Anonymous says:

    No doubt there is a team of specialists/consultants working out what the JP's duties etc are so that they can then draft the regulations.  Don't expect them soon and don't expect anything sensible

  13. Anonymous says:

    Are you really surprised?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why in the world aren't the Judges doing this on a weekend and night rotation? There are plenty of them to share the load and be on call. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    Slightly off subject, but are Notary Publics permtted to charge? I have never had to pay but I see one advertising on Ecay at $15 a signature. Sounds a bit off to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      11:19   Yes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. The notary law sets out how much they can charge. JPs cannot charge.

    • Anonymous says:

      The fees are prescribed in Cayman law, charges range between 15 and 65 depending on the type of document.  Notaries get charged a licence fee of $500 per year.

    • Anonymous says:

      The fees are contained inthe Schedule to the Notaries Public Law.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes they are allowed to charge, but the fees are fixed by the Notaries Public Law

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      They have to pay $800 a year for the privilege of being a NP – of course they are entitled to charge.  How is that any different from any other service offered on thisisland? 

    • Anonymous says:

      so, 'Slightly off Subject…."  you expect a Notary to either waste his gas travelling to meet you or sit waiting in his Office to take time out of his day for you and provide you with a service – and you expect to get it for free???

      $15 per Document ??? Go to a Lawyer and expect to get a rate of anything less than $300 an hour or part thereof !!  (I appreciate we may be talking 'chalk and cheese' – even though I am a qualified Notary) but I'm just pointing out that the $15 you mention is 'Peanuts'

      You obviously have a friend or co-worker who signs your documents for free but did it ever occur to you to even ask "what do I owe you".  I  pay an Annual Fee and it really irritates me when friends or acquaintances just expect to get your services free just because you are a friend or acquaintance.

      Now don't get me wrong, if those people were to say " How much do I owe you ?" … then 90% of the time, I would (and do) say "Don't worry about it"  – I even have a Policy of not charging my work-colleagues ….       but to just 'assume' that there is no charge without even asking makes an ASS out of U and ME  (Don't ASSUME) !

  15. Anonymous says:

    Q. What does it take to get fired in the CIG?  Has anyone in the history of the CIG ever been fired for cause?  

    Apparently:

    A. You don't have to do your job!

    B. You don't have to keep track of money!

    C. You don't have to show up for work!

    D. Free Healthcare, Honourable Titles, Double Dip Pension Plan!

    E. Lose files and deny FOI requests with impunity!

    F. You can take all your prescribed sick days as personal holiday!

    G. Fill up your car, your boat, and neighbour's car with free gasoline!

    H. If you can find another way to steal or bilk the system, it is okay to do so, feigning ignorance, as long as you pay it back later!  

    Don't worry, your Minister or Dept Head has got your back!  Party On!

    • Anonymous says:

      10:10, according to a large group of morons on this Island, all of what you metion is a UK conspiracy.

       

       

      • Anonymous says:

        14:56. Of course all the morons are free to return from whence they came,no need to grace us with their presence.

        • Anonymous says:

          14:51, thanks for letting me know I can return to George Town, the place where I was born.

    • Anonymous says:

      10:10.You seem to have a lot of information,hope you have turned it over to the police.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are absolutely right.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, this hardly comes as a surprise. There are two speeds here : slow and stop; and most of the time it's the latter.  In view of what has happened in the past one would have thought this would be treated as a matter of urgency. Why hasn't it?

  17. Anonymous says:

    In other words….Still a failure.  I think its official.  Cayman islands Government has failed in all aspects.  Time for the United Kingdom to save the islands so future generations of Caymanians can still call it home.