Custos to investigate conduct of JPs in viral video with murder accused Rushane Barnett
The Custos of St. Andrew is to launch a full investigation into the conduct of Justices of the Peace, who were seen in a viral video with murder accused Rushane Barnett.
In a release, the Justice Ministry said the matter will be fully investigated, under the auspice of the relevant Custos, and if the investigation shows breaches of the Justices of the Peace act and any of the JPs code of conduct, there will be consequences.
It said JPs have an obligation to perform voluntary community-based activities, as the Custos may require which include visits to prisons to ensure the rights of persons in custody, are protected and that their dignity is respected in prisons or lock-ups.
The ministry said notice is taken with great concern of the video being circulated on social media, in which four JPs, one being a medical doctor, are seen questioning the condition and health of accused Rushane Barnett, whilst the engagement was being videotaped.
It said checking on the well-being of accused and detained persons, is an appropriate role and duty of specified JPs, however, videotaping is inappropriate, and should not be done.
In addition, the ministry said it is inappropriate for JPs, to be present during a medical examination.
Meantime, the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica (LMAJ) has condemned the actions of the JPs in the video with Barnett.
The LMAJ says it is concerned, about the circulated video and distances itself from the individuals, who would have recorded and purportedly circulated it.
It says their actions are in contradiction to the tenets of the office of Justice of the Peace and are not in accordance with the modus operandi in the execution of JP duties.
The association notes that the release of the video into the public domain, whether intentional or otherwise, taints the impartiality of the role of the Justice of the Peace.
It adds that it is reminding its members and all Justices of the Peace of their responsibility, to act unbiased in the execution of all their duties.