Top cop changes JP policy

| 28/06/2013

Baines by dennie.jpg(CNS) Updated: The police commissioner admitted this week that the situation regarding the justice of the peace who had signed a police warrant without having a clue about what he was being asked to sign or the crime that the warrant related to was both “slack procedure and slack practice”. David Baines said that the policies regarding JPs has now been changed and police will from now on use officers of the courts during daytime hours. For out of hours warrants, only JPs who have been trained or who have legal knowledge will be asked to sign. He said the list of justices of the peace that they would use had been revised and the JP in question had been removed. (Photo by Dennie warren Jr)

Baines told CNS that the JPs will now also be asked to sign a declaration that they had seen and understood the evidence and why they were signing and an inspector will be required to approve all warrants.

The commissioner acknowledged that his officers were at fault in the recent case relating to Sandra Catron, which caused a warrant to be thrown out in the case against her for allegedly misusing an ICT Network. He noted that the deputy governor had indicated the need for a review of the JP system.

However, the issue was that in the Catron case the police had clearly chosen the JP from a long list, many of whom are lawyers. The JP, who had clearly been used by RCIPS officers on many occasions, admitted in court that in more than two decades he had never refused to sign a warrant, and on this occasion had seen no evidence, had been given no information, had sworn no oath and had no clue about the crime.

The judge in question had been shocked at the revelations and had thrown the warrant out in relation to the case which the crown appears to still be prosecuting.

Justices of the peace are appointed by the governor and do not go through the same selection process as would happen for a judge or magistrate, according to Court Administrator Kevin McCormac. The chief justice has no direct responsibility for regulating the JPs or any control over how a JP performs his or her duties other than those performed in court (typically sitting as a lay magistrate in child care cases).

"Following appointment, justices are sworn in and, in recent years, training has been offered by the judiciary at that stage, recognising the growing complexity of the exercise of the powers that a Justice of the Peace is given by law," McCormac said. "However, there is still considerable need for work to be done to ensure that the important quasi-judicial powers given to Justices of the Peace under the law are exercised in full knowledge and understanding of legal procedures and of the law." 

The chief justice is pleased that the deputy governor is said to be reviewing the process and effect of appointment, McCormac said noting that he, himself, would ensure that every assistance was given to that review.

“I am absolutely elated that a policy change has come about as a direct result of my unlawful arrest and search," Catron told CNS. "The RCIPS are to be commended for taking this first step to correct the problem. However, I also think that the law must be amended to reflect that only magistrates/judiciary can sign search warrants. We have seen before that the RCIPS are not always the most efficient at following their own internal procedures and policies.

"The law must be changed and I will continue to lobby our legislators for this to occur. Only when that happens will a feel victorious!” she added.

Related article on CNS:

Legal blunders could cost public purse dear

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  1. Tommy P says:

    Only in Cayman!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Search bla bla bla. These guys even bending rules as they are doing as a constant and have gotten in a bit of hot water this time, are still unable to curb and then stop the majority of criminality amongst us. They are getting more non-convictions and more complaints than sucessfull cases. A few years too late for Baines to take action. Ii guess he is adapting to Cayman……..soon come.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that there maybe a few people in Northward with robbery convictions who will disagree with you.

      Classic posting without research and axe to grind mentality showing through!

      • Rorschach says:

        There are far more people running around free that have committed crimes than there are people in Northward who have been convicted…just saying..

        • Anonymous says:

          This is the same case in every country. In regards to this, Cayman is no different than anywhere else.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Goes to show you that a single person can make a difference. I’m just surprised that changes were not made after the Henderson lawsuit. Seems Ms. Catron was able to achieve something that even Henderson couldn’t do.

    My issue with this is internal policy might not be adhered to and who’s going to be a watchdog for the RCIPS? I certainly don’t believe Baines is the appropriate person for that. He’s already blaming and making excuses.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The scandal here is the undiscerning manner in which JPs are appointed. Picked from the ranks of the great and the good "indiginous" Caymanians, no heed is taken of ability or background. They are nothing more than a way of "honoring" someone with a Long Service And (sometimes not so) Good Conduct Medal; in other words, another honours system run by politicans, although this time hand-in-glove with the AG. But where this causes problems is that JPs actually have a role to play, sometimes a very onerous one, and the police wlll very soon learn which JP, preferring a quiet life, will sign any old thing stuck under his or her nose. My suggestion is to remove every one of them and appoint legally qualifed JPs. Or leave them with the silly "JP" after their name if they insist but remove all their powers, to be exercised instead by a full-time duty magistrate, day or night.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some people have to put an anti-caymanian spin on everything

    • Anonymous says:

      I suggest that they recommend YOU. Seems like you have some jealousy with the JPs. You should make a perfect one. Most importantly with being a JP is having good credibility.

    • J Salasi I. -111? says:

      Judge ye not that ye be not judged. It would seem to me that your comments are meant to hurt some one but they hurt only you. One day you will slip and all will ne revealed. You better watch ya mouth in how you try to berate the hands that brought you here.

      • Judeans Peoples Front says:

        Blessed are the cheese makers.

        • Big Nose says:

          Actually, this shouldn't be taken literally as it relates to all who are involved in the manufacture of dairy products.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is a bit like the Da Vinci Code.  I know there is a clue in here somewhere, but I am no Tom Hanks.

  5. anonymous says:

    i would think that we have enough judges now that a system of rotation could be put in place for after hours and weekends. Many jurisdictions do it.

    • Anonymous says:



      Very good suggestion, but remember, we are still immature.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Its about time!! This JP in question has been known to sign any and every document. A review of  government documents will show that he has signed for people who are getting a monthly  handouts from the government, it begs to question if they were honest in their claims for funds or just knew who to go to.   

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Ebanks is a very honest Citizen, that is the reason that so many people go to him and on the other hand he is very accessible. Many Seamen went to sea with him and others know that he knows all the seamen.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem with Mr. Ebanks' lack of understanding of the documents that he signs (whether for Seamen or the RCIPS) is that they are legal documents that have consequences! Ask the Seaman who's land papers he signed that should have been signed to transfer land to a person not even entitled.

        Yea, a lot of mistakes have been made by this JP and he should be removed as a JP altogether!! Mr. Manderson if you did this I would have greater respect for you. He's a nice honest, old man but there's more required when operating in a quasi judicial posiiton than just that! Make him go and volunteer in something where no harm can be done.

        His memory is even failing him but honestly at age 81 what would you expect!!! He was appointed a JP in his old age (59?). Come on folks!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am no friend to Sandra, but I hold no ill-will toward her either.


    This is Accountability at work – procedures must be followed.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is fantastic! Finally someone steps in on behalf of the Caymanians. FRANZ MANDERSON FOR GOVERNOR!!!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Who were the people that choose those JPs to sign those warrants? Do they have a clue who are the knowledgeable ones?

  10. Anonymous says:

    This still doe not solve the issue itis only a bandaid fix.

  11. Cayman Biting Ants says:

    The Information sheet that accompanied a search warrant was standard procedure and has always been there. It obviously ain't standard anymore it is so sad that in this era of "mordern Policing" as some who have arrive on these shores like to remind us of. The basics rules and laws are simply not being followed  or adhered to anymore and we have to suffer the humilation of listening to certain people telling us what we already know and should be doing and to add insult to injury to have to listen those who's responsibility it is to enforce the law are now trying to reinvent the wheel and taking credit for it. XXXX

  12. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, Commissioner Baines has been on-island for four years and only just got round to this. He either never read the Cresswell report on Justice Henderson's arrest or just ignored the messages it contained about abuse of the warrant process.

  13. Anonymous says:

    There's a difference between slackness and utter brainlessness, Mr.Baines.

    Why wasn't this absurd practice not recognised before? How many other examples of "slackness" exist within the everyday workings of the police service? Please make it your number one priority to review ALL the procedures your officers are currently employing.

    Being what some might view as bone-idle and taking the easy way out just isn't acceptible my good man and it's your job to put a stop to it.

  14. Whodatis says:

    There is no room for reactionary policies when it comes to these matters.

    Innocent lives can be ruined by this "slackness" and it should have never been an issue in the first place.

    As for pointing the finger at the judiciary – I call 'bullcrap'.

    When the final step in a process is that of an RCIPS officer / team making an arrest or entering one's private residence – an onus is on the head of the RCIPS to ensure that the process is up to par.

    Baines, you have screwed up majorly yet again … however, worry not – your job is secure and we all know why.

    – Whodatis


    • Anonymous!!@##!! says:

      My problem with the police getting a warrant to serach a house and they go to that house and find out the owner is not at home to give permission or sign that they gave permissin and when you the home owner question them, they say, thee was someone at the house, which happens to be the domestic helper.   This happen to me and she called me I said I was five minutes away, he told her he couldnt wait on me, to have me  call him. I will not disclose all that took place as it is still ongoing.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

      • Diogenes says:

        If they had a warrant they didn’t need your position – or the helper’s – that’s the purpose of a warrant. If you gave permission they wouldn’t need a warrant, would they? Just think man – turn up at a suspect’s door and you have to rely on him saying “yeah sure search my house and find the illegal stuff I have got in here!” SMH.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who ya really mad at WDI?

  15. Anonymous says:

    How typical, especially for this commissioner. In a classic case of pot calling the kettle black, as we say here, when his officers screw up, he blames the JP that they sought out and inveigled to sign a defective warrant. It’s simply a situation of both the police and judiciary failing to properly train people who have obviously been given more authority than they deserve. That’s typical for this country too. So, as we do here, whenever there’s a debacle, we engage in the asignment of blame to someone else! Perhaps we should import some propah JPs from Jolly old England, shall we Bainesy?

  16. PB&J says:

    Made fast work of that, didn’t they?!

    This has my stamp of approval.


  17. Anonymous says:

    Good job Sandra!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sandra,  like the great Senator Charles H. Percy.

      You can be the voice of the voiceless and the conscience of the country demanding the reconition and redress of grievance.

      An end to the neglect, violence and discrimination perpetrated against the weakest members of society.

      lets see you continue with your great courage.