Justice of the Peace removed for misbehaviour

Under section 71 of the Criminal Proceedings etc Reform (Scotland) Act 2007 (as amended) it is provided that a Justice of the Peace can be removed by a Tribunal established by the Lord President of the Court of Session. This tribunal is to be chaired by a sheriff principal, and as well as the sheriff principal is to include among its three member panel a solicitor or advocate with at least 10 years experience, and another person. The tribunal can recommend removal from office under s 71 (6) of the 2007 Act if

"after investigation carried out at the instance of the sheriff principal for the sheriffdom for which the JP is appointed, it finds that—

(a) the JP is—

(i) unfit for that office, or

(ii) unfit for performing judicial functions,

by reason of inability, neglect of duty or misbehaviour,

(b) the JP has inadequately performed the functions of a JP,

(c) the JP has, without good reason, failed to meet a condition imposed under section 68(2)."

Henry Dedecker, a justice of the peace in Dingwall, was convicted of speeding in December 2008 and fined £200 and given four points on his driving licence after a trial. However, Mr Dedecker did not attend during the first tiral and was subsequently charged with and convicted of "deliberately failing to attend court as an accused person". He was again fined £200.

The Herald reports today that,

"A tribunal ruled that he was unfit to hold the office of justice of the peace due to "misbehaviour".

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the Judicial Office for Scotland said Sheriff Principal Sir Stephen Young invited the Lord President to establish a tribunal to consider Mr Dedecker's fitness to continue to hold office.

She added: "The tribunal, having investigated the fitness for office of Henry Dedecker JP and being satisfied that he is unfit by reason of misbehaviour, made an order removing Mr Dedecker from office as of June 29, 2010.""

The terms of section 71 (9) mean that Mr Dedecker is barred from being a justice of the peace in future.

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