Falling roof disrupts sitting at Falmouth court
A section of the roof at the Trelawny Parish Court in Falmouth came tumbling down on Wednesday, forcing presiding judge Vaughn Facey and other persons to vacate the courtroom and complete proceedings in a corridor outside.
The Trelawny Parish Court is housed inside the Georgian-style Falmouth Town Hall, which was built in 1881. The building is also home to the Trelawny Municipal Corporation and hosts cultural and civic activities.
Judge Facey was handling traffic court and petty session matters when the sitting was disrupted.
“This is pointing to the need to properly repair this ageing building. The section of the roof that fell down could have seriously injured anybody who was in the court building at the time,” one concerned individual who regularly does business inside the building told The Gleaner. “They need to get engineers to come in and check out this building thoroughly because if a section came down, what is to stop other sections from coming down?”
All the cases that were scheduled for Falmouth have now been shifted to the courthouse in Duncans, which is located some 10 miles away.
A court official in Duncans told The Gleaner that their facility is fully equipped to handle the additional cases with minimal challenges.
“We have had visits from the Ministry of Justice, the Court Administration Division, to see what is necessary to have the cases from Falmouth tried here, and they are, seemingly, satisfied,” said an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I believe we can comfortably accommodate the excess that may come.”
When The Gleaner contacted Falmouth Mayor Collen Gager, who chairs the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, he said that he had been out of office for two days and that while he was aware of what had transpired, he had not yet been fully briefed.
“The superintendent of works and I are going to meet, and then I can speak on the matter in a more fulsome way,” he said.
Since the Falmouth Justice Centre was established in nearby Rock in 2019, Family Court matters have been transferred to that location. When the facility is completely built out, it is expected that the Falmouth Courthouse will relocate all its operations to that site.