January 27, 2022

Decision delayed on jury trial for corruption accused

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Corruption1From T&C Weekly News

A decision on whether the ten defendants fingered in widespread corruption under ex-Premier Michael Misick’s administration will face a bench or a jury trial has been delayed until May 27.

Jamaican jurist, Justice Paul Harrison, who is presiding over the corruption trial of Misick and ten others, on Monday (March 31), adjourned the decision after hearing submissions from the ex-Premier, the Crown and lawyers for the others.

The ten others charged are – former Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Floyd Basil Hall, former Minister of Natural Resources McAllister Eugene Hanchell, former Minister of Education Lillian Elaine Boyce, former Minister of Works Jeffrey Christoval Hall, former PNP leader and attorney Clayton Stanfield Greene, attorney Thomas ‘Chal’ Misick, Lisa Michelle Hall, attorney Melbourne Arthur Wilson, Earlson McDonald Robinson, Norman Saunders Jnr.

Andrew Mitchell QC of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) made the application for the delay in the judge’s decision.

He told the court that the decision should be given on the trial without a jury request only after Misick’s lawyers have made submissions on the same application.

UK attorney, Courtenay Griffiths QC is representing Misick in the trial.

Mitchell made that application late last month following a sufficiency hearing before the Chief Justice on March 21. Lawyers for the other ten defendants made submissions on the same application on January 6 to 10.

On Monday, the SIPT lawyer claimed not to have the cooperation of Misick’s lawyers, even as he admitted that while speaking with Griffiths a few weeks ago, the lawyer indicated to him that he is involved in a high profile trial in London.

Mitchell said there is a difficulty in setting a proper time frame for the trial and preserving the July 7 trial date when he is not being presented with any indications as to when the lawyer would be available to appear in a TCI court to defend Misick.

Mitchell said he is not sure that July 7 is a practical date for the trial anymore.

However, Misick has maintained, on Monday and during previous hearings that his lawyer has told him that he can be in the TCI in late April after the trial in London concludes.

Misick said he has made the SIPT aware of this.

The former Premier – who again spoke on his own behalf – indicated to the court that he wants adequate time for his lawyers to properly defend him, same as was granted to the other ten defendants.

He said that having only been charged in January – unlike the others – he is being rushed through the system by the SIPT to fit into a time frame that was set when he was not charged or even in the TCI.

Meanwhile, while arguing for the trial without a jury decision to be given on Monday, one lawyer claimed that the trial has been derailed.

He said the case is affecting investment in the TCI and people who have nothing to do with it.

However, Mitchell later disputed this, stating that the trial is not having as bad an effect on the economy as the lawyer claimed. He said there are indications that the TCI’s economy is rebounding.

Another lawyer, James Sheppard told the court that it is in the interest of justice that Misick should have the same time to respond to the SIPT application as the other defendants.

The trial without a jury application for the ten defendants was made sometime in September 2013 by the SIPT.

Arguments were heard in January this year.

While arguing for the proper time to be given to Misick, however, most of the lawyers wanted the trial by jury decision to be given on Monday so that the parties would have adequate time to appeal the ruling.

The court of appeal next sits on April 28 and then again in September.

The lawyers also wanted a new trial date to be fixed on Monday, but the judge was not inclined to do so.

He said the Supreme Court registrar will be asked to contact the president of the Appeal Court to see if the court would sit earlier than September to facilitate the appeal process for the corruption accused.

He said only after the appeal court gives an answer to the registrar can he make an informed decision on whether to set a new date or not.

PLEA AND DIRECTIONS HEARING

Misick is set to appear before Harrison on May 12 for his plea and directions hearing.

During this time, submissions will also be made on the SIPT’s application for a trial without a jury.

While the former Premier’s attorney has adopted some of the arguments of the other defence counsels, he has indicated that he will be putting forward an additional point with regard to his client.

The lawyers for the ten defendants will have a chance to make any additional arguments during this time.

On that same day, the Crown will make an application to join the charges against Misick with those of his co-defendants.

The judge will also hear arguments from the lawyers for the other defendants who have objections to Misick’s information being added to theirs.

Arguments will be heard on May 12, 13 and 14.

PENALTY

Under the section for acquisition, use and possession of criminal proceeds in the Proceeds of Crime Ordinance a person who commits such an offence is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or a fine of $40,000 or both.

On a conviction of indictment, a person is liable to a term of imprisonment of 14 years or a fine without limit or to both.

The Ordinance also states that where a person fails to disclose knowledge or suspicion of money laundering they are liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or a fine of $20,000, or both.

If convicted on indictment, that person is liable to a term of imprisonment of five years or a fine without limit or both.

Misick is charged with one count of conspiracy to receive bribes, another count of conspiracy to disguise the proceeds of crime, two counts of conspiracy to conceal or transfer the proceeds of criminal conduct and five counts of conspiracy to defraud.

In all of these offences, he is charged along with several of the other defendants.

However, Lisa Hall and Norman Saunders are not named in any counts with Misick.

Hall is charged along with Floyd Hall with converting or transferring the proceeds of criminal conduct.

Saunders is named in three money-laundering counts. (DI)

For more on this story go to:

http://tcweeklynews.com/decision-delayed-on-jury-trial-for-corruption-accused-p4945-1.htm

PHOTO: queens-politics.com

 

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