Mon | Jun 25, 2018

Court employees spend days on the job after being charged with fraud

Published:Friday | January 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Gleaner Writer

Two court employees, who were arrested and charged for allegedly selling 'clean' police records, remained on the job at the St Mary Parish Court for several days after they were nabbed by the police.

Shirlett Lawson, 53, an assistant clerk, was charged on January 4 with two counts of forgery, two counts of conspiracy to defraud, and misconduct in public office.

On the same day, another assistant clerk, Andre Walsh, 36, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud and misconduct in public office.

But according to law-enforcement officials, the two continued to show up for work even after making their first court appearance days after their arrest.

"They were arrested and charged for alleged dishonest acts at the courts office, and, to my surprise, they were still at work in the court office with access to all the thousands of sensitive files submitted by the police," the source complained.

The Court Management Service, responding to queries from The Gleaner yesterday, said that it was informed of the allegations against the two employees on January 16 and immediately sent them on leave, pending the outcome of both cases.

According to the allegations before the court, Walsh collected $10,000 from a man, previously charged by the police, for a 'clean' criminal record. It is alleged that he conspired with Lawson to forge a certificate of dismal for the man.

Lawson, according to the allegations, forged dismissal letters for two men who were previously charged by the police, indicating that the charges had been dismissed.

"If a person is arrested, charged and fingerprinted and applies for a police record while the case is ongoing, or even dismissed, the criminal records office, on receipt of that application, would request an update from the court office," the source said, explaining the procedure to obtain a police record.

Walsh and Lawson are scheduled to return to court on February 26.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com