Cayman Islands Justices of the Peace will be subject to far stricter appointment and training requirements starting next month, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said Friday.
Regulations attached to the Summary Jurisdiction Law [2014 Revision] – which governs local JPs – will take effect on May 1, Mr. Manderson said.
The rules, which are set by Cabinet, create a “much more formalized” appointment process for JPs, require “ongoing training,” create a complaints process for the public against decisions made by Justices of the Peace, create a code of conduct for those justices and also require record keeping for any and all formal decisions made by JPs.
In addition, Mr. Manderson said, local law enforcement agencies have assisted in creating standardized documents for use in all warrant applications their officers make before a JP.
The Progressives-led government said in 2013 that it had agreed to change the territory’s Summary Jurisdiction Law to allow for the creation of regulations to address the selection, training and code of conduct for justices of the peace, following a case in which a search warrant signed by a JP was thrown out of court. In that case, a local woman, Sandra Catron, successfully challenged a 2012 police search of her vehicle and home.
Premier Alden McLaughlin, in pressing the need for the proposed legislative changes, noted that other past mistakes by justices of the peace had cost Cayman huge amounts of money.
“The issuance of a warrant by a permanent secretary in the government to allow the police to go and search and ultimately arrest a sitting judge of the Grand Court cost this country $1.275 million,” Mr. McLaughlin said, referring to the arrest of Justice Alexander Henderson during the ill-fated Operation Tempura investigation. “We’ve had the more recent case by Ms. Sandra Catron. I don’t know if that has, or if it will end up costing the government any cash in terms of compensation, but it has certainly caused major embarrassment.”
The changes to the law required the vote of the Legislative Assembly, which was accomplished last year. However, future regulatory changes could be decided in Cabinet meetings, which are held behind closed doors.
It is understood the governor will still be responsible for JP appointments, acting within regulations determined by elected officials.