October 21, 2020

TCI: Crown could close its case by end of July, says SIPT prosecutor

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By Delana Isles From TC Weekly News

There is now renewed hope that by the end of this month the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team () will conclude what could potentially be the first half of the government corruption trial.

Last week, the Weekly News reached out to lead prosecutor Andrew Mitchell QC for an idea of how much longer he has to present the Crown’s evidence against the eight defendants.

“I remain positive that we will call it a wrap up by end of July,” Mitchell said.

When the Crown wraps up its evidence, the defendants – Michael Misick, Floyd Hall, , McAllister Hanchell, , , Clayton Greene, Chalmers Misick and Melbourne Wilson – will then get the opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.

This could likely see the lawyers for the defendants calling new witnesses, recalling old witnesses, presenting their own documented evidence and possibly some of the defendants testifying on their own behalf.

So far the defence attorneys and their clients have remained tight-lipped on just what their defence strategies will be when the prosecution rests its case.

There is also no indication whether any of the defendants will take the witness stand to tell the TCI public their version of what transpired during the years of Michael Misick’s administration when widespread corruption is alleged to have occurred.

While most jurisdictions set time limits for lawyers to be guided by when presenting their cases, there appears to be none or little acknowledgement of such, in relation to the SIPT trial.

For the past three years and several months, Mitchell and other SIPT lawyers have been laying out the Crown’s case in a Providenciales’ courtroom, with a massive volume of documents tendered as evidence in the case and countless witnesses being called.

Among the rights a defendant has under the law is that to confront witnesses on the stand, to be given sufficient time to prepare and put on their defence and to that of a fair trial.

It now remains to be seen if the defendants will be given a fair amount of time to put on their defence given that the prosecution has been granted more than three years (commencing on December 8, 2015) to put their case to the trial judge.

The defendants were officially sent to trial in April 2012, after the former chief justice determined at the sufficiency hearing that the Crown had enough evidence against the accused to take them to trial.

This was after the special investigation team began its investigations in April 2010 and the first charges were laid in September 2011.

The chances of the trial ending this year, if the prosecution concludes its case at the end of this month, remain very slim.

Earlier this year, sources had stated that the trial is a long way from over.

This year marks ten years since the Sir Robin Auld Commission of Inquiry into widespread corruption at the highest level in the TCI Government was first commissioned.

The Weekly News will continue to keep the public informed when the defendants are ready to present a defence to the court.

For more on this story go to: http://tcweeklynews.com/crown-could-close-its-case-by-end-of-july-says-sipt-prosecutor-p8876-127.htm

IMAGE: TCI Coat of Arms

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