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Fix these JP shortcomings

Published: 
Friday, August 10, 2018

In the justice system of Trinidad and Tobago, we have been critical of the performances of the Judiciary, the lawyers and the police. One of the elements in this system where we tend to overlook their performance is the Justice of the Peace, mainly those at the Magistrates’ Courts at the jurisdictions throughout the country.

These Justice of the Peace play a very important role in our judicial practices, giving legal advice to the public they encounter daily, preparing documents to be taken before a judicial officer (magistrate), also being a mediator in conflicts.

The important question being asked; what are the qualifications to be a Justice of the Peace in this 21st century? My concern and reason for asking such a question is on July 10, 2018, I had cause to go to the Tunapuna Magistracy to pursue a legal matter. The first question asked by the JP was “what caused that beef between you both?” A disrespectful and unprofessional statement. I had given my story in detail and the JP was the note taker. Because of my limited legal background, I observed the authority on the summons was wrong.

On the court date, I asked the learned magistrate to make an amendment on the information. To my surprise, the wording of the charge was also wrong and the text was contrary to what I told this JP. I was embarrassed for my signature was affixed, and I trusted this professional public servant. Maybe I bought cat in bag and went blindly.

My major concern is the many innocent citizens who have been misled by these JP’s incompetence. Some citizens may have lost their loved ones and valuable properties because of their shortcomings.

The Legal Affairs Unit of the Attorney General’s Office, please handle this situation urgently and save the nation.

ATHELSTON CLINTON,
Arima

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