JPs Visitation to Lock Ups Appropriate; Video Unfortunate

July 4, 2022

The Ministry of Justice reminds the public that Justices of the Peace (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 their dignity respected in prisons/lock-ups.

However, notice is taken with great concern of a video being circulated on social media in which four JPs, one being a medical doctor, were seen questioning the condition and health of the accused Rushane Barnett whilst the engagement was being videotaped. The matter will be fully investigated under the auspices of the relevant Custos Rotulorum, and if the investigation shows breaches of the Justices of the Peace Act (2018) and any JPs Code of Conduct there will be consequences.

Checking on the wellbeing of accused/detained persons is an appropriate role and duty of specified JPs who form part of a visitation lock-up/prison committee established for Justices of the Peace. Any engagement of activities, however, to include videotaping is most inappropriate, and should not be done.  In addition, it is inappropriate for JPs to be present during a medical examination.

JPs continue to be persons of integrity who are reminded to provide voluntary support and service to the public so as to uphold rights and justice.