January 23, 2022

Antigua: Criminal charges against 3 opposition legislators dropped

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From Caribbean News Service

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Mar 28 2017 – Three members of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), including its leader and former finance minister Harold Lovell, were freed on Tuesday after charges were dropped against them at a magistrates’ court.

Jubiliant UPP supporters chanted and celebrated as Lovell, former education minister Dr Jacqui Quinn and the St Phillip South Member of Parliament, Wilmoth Daniel, emerged from the court building.

The trio had been charged with larceny, fraudulent conversion and corruption in relation to three Daewoo buses worth more than EC$600,000 that had been donated to the former UPP administration by Japan.

The prosecution had alleged that the trio converted the buses for personal use and had them registered in their names while they were in public office.

The UPP had labelled the charges as part of the “continued harassment and political persecution of former members of its administration” and accused the ruling Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) administration of orchestrating the charges on the eve of its second anniversary on June 12 last year, to deflect focus from its “dismal failures”.

The charges were first filed in the St John’s Magistrates’ Court on May 30, 2016 and when the three accused appeared before Magistrate Conliffe Clarke on Tuesday, he ruled the defendants did not have a case to answer.

He said based on how the charges were laid there were no charges for them to answer.

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