Signed, sealed and fraudulent
Just weeks after reports surfaced about an individual operating as a justice of the peace (JP) with the requisite authorisation, Hanover is back in the news that a bona fide JP has been compromised and could end up being decommissioned.
In the latest case, the JP, who was only identified as a “senior justice of the peace”, is being accused of giving the official seal of one JP to be used by another person.
Hanover Custos Dr David Stair acknowledged that the matter has come to his attention and that it is being investigated.
“The justice of the peace who issued the seal and the one who is using it have both been summoned to my office, and we will be seeking to get to the bottom of the matter,” Stair told The Gleaner.
Checks by The Gleaner have revealed that the seal in question was issued by the Ministry of Justice to a pastor, who was recommended to be a justice of the peace in Hanover during the tenure of a previous custos. However, the pastor was subsequently transferred from the parish by his denomination before his commissioning.
The seal meant for the pastor was sent to the parish and was received and held by a senior JP on its arrival. The senior JP has reportedly been allowing another person, who has also been recommended but has not been accorded a seal, to be using the disputed seal.
“Such an action is illegal,” another senior JP, who asked not to be identified, told The Gleaner. “I hope that Custos Stair will deal with the situation sternly, as the persons involved ought to know better.”
When the custos was asked to provide details on the matter, he said he was not prepared to disclose the names of the persons involved, but promised that the matter will be dealt with in the best way possible.
This latest case and the previous incident reportedly came to light as a result of the vigilance of the latest batch of JPs, who were dubbed the ‘thoughtful 37’ by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen when they were commissioned in October.
In the first case, a former educator was accused of operating as a JP without being commissioned to act in that capacity in November. That matter is being investigated by the Hanover police.