ATC111122: Report on Suspension of Magistrates D Jacobs, Clocolan

Justice and Correctional Services

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the suspension of Magistrates D Jacobs, Clocolan, dated 22 November 2011


1.                         The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered the report of the Magistrates Commission on the suspension of Magistrate D Jacobs, reports as follows


2.            The Minister, on the advice of the Commission, provisionally suspended Mr Jacobs from office with effect from 30 March 2010. The National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces confirmed the provisional suspension on 1 and 4 June 2010 respectively.


3.         On 25 May 2010, Mr Jacobs was charged with ten counts of misconduct.


4.         The Commission then learnt that, on 16 July 2010, while on provisional suspension, Mr Jacobs was arrested and appeared before the Clocolan District Court on a charge of driving a vehicle under the influence of liquor. As a result, further charges of misconduct were added.


5.         The misconduct inquiry against Mr Jacobs began on 6 August 2010 but was postponed, at his request, to 22 and 23 September 2010 for him to instruct counsel. On 22 September 2010, Mr Jacobs’ attorney advised the Presiding Officer that Mr Jacobs had abandoned his intention to instruct counsel. He would be represented by his attorney at the misconduct proceedings. Mr Jacobs denied the allegations but was prepared to make certain admissions. The defence further raised the point that Mr Jacobs suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and major depression resulting in him having developed a serious alcohol dependency. The misconduct inquiry was by mutual agreement converted to an inquiry into Mr Jacobs’ capacity to carry out his duties of office efficiently. A clinical psychologist gave evidence on this point.


6.         Both the Commission and Mr Jacob’s legal representative agree that Mr Jacobs does not have the capacity to carry out his duties in an efficient manner.


7.         On 18 April 2011, Mr Jacobs, through his legal representative, was given an opportunity to submit written comments on the findings and give reasons. He was given another opportunity to submit his comments on 29 June 2011 but he failed to do so.


8.         At its meeting held on 21 and 22 July 2011, the Commission considered the contents of relevant documents regarding the finding of an incapacity hearing and based on the undisputed evidence placed before the investigating officer, resolved to recommend that he be removed from office on account of incapacity to carry out the duties of his office efficiently. The Commission further noted the fact the Mr Jacobs did not submit any written comment or representation in respect of the finding made.


9                     Having considered the report of the Commission, the Committee recommends that the National Assembly approves the suspension of Mr Jacobs from office.


Report to be considered


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