Jamaica News, A total of 40 Justices of the Peace (JPs) from Kingston and St. Andrew, on Thursday (Dec. 20), graduated from a training programme organised by the Justice Training Institute (JTI).
The programme which aims, among other things, to significantly boost the capacity of the Lay Magistrates’ Courts, forms part of the Justice Ministry’s undertaking, through the JTI, to further strengthen JPs’ capabilities by assisting them to improve the services they provide in their communities.
This specialised training was administered in May by retired High Court Judge, Justice Marva McIntosh, and covered wide-ranging topics, including – judicial conduct, ethics, court procedures and court rules, the trial process, evidence, the rules of admissibility, and sentencing.
Addressing the graduation ceremony at the Medallion Hall Hotel in St. Andrew, Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said there plans to significantly increase the range of matters over which JPs serving as Lay Magistrates can adjudicate.
“I am working on that so that you will have many more areas. It is important that you understand that (your current) limited jurisdiction is, in no way, a reflection of the enormity of your role, responsibility and importance in the advancement of justice,” he said.
Mr. Chuck encouraged the JPs to exercise impartiality when serving as lay magistrates by, among other things, always listening to arguments from all parties in matters over which they preside, before pronouncing judgements.
Meanwhile, the Minister reiterated the illegality of JPs charging for their services, noting that such an act engenders corruption.
He cited examples where this has been done, and also where JPs have vouched for persons of questionable character, noting that these are dangerous precedents.