July 25, 2021

Turks and Caicos corruption trial set to resume

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hall_boyce_hall_hanchellFrom Caribbean News Now

PROVIDENCIALES, TCI — The much delayed trial of former Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Cabinet ministers and others was set to resume at the court in Providenciales with opening statements from the prosecution on Monday, after a number of pre-trial applications by the defendants were denied.

An application on behalf of former deputy premier Floyd Hall for an additional delay and another on behalf of former premier Michael Misick for the charges to be dismissed were rejected by Judge Paul Harrison.

Along with Misick and Hall, Misick’s brother, Thomas Chalmers Misick; Hall’s wife Lisa; Hall’s brother Quentin; former ministers McAlister Hanchell, Jeffrey Hall, as well as Lillian Boyce and her brother Earlson Robinson, and Jeffrey Hall’s former attorney Melbourne Wilson are also charged with multiple offences.

michael_misick16-1However, the accused, who have all been joined together as co-defendants, appeared to be at odds as to whether or not the trial should get under way.

Hall’s lawyer, Earl Witter QC, told the media, “My client’s case weights more heavily than all the others and I am not ready for trial,” after asking in court for six more months to prepare.

However, former speaker of the house Clayton Greene’s lawyer, Richard Bendell QC, said his client “has a right to a speedy trail and he has been waiting for four years.”

The applications seemed to be, in essence, a last ditch attempt by the two more notable defendants to find a means to escape the process.

Judge Harrison dismissed the applications and left it for the prosecution to present opening arguments. The prosecutor, Andrew Mitchell QC, however, opted to wait until the court resumed in the New Year to proceed. The Crown’s opening on Monday is expected to take several days.

The process has been stalled since 2012 when the British-appointed special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) announced it was ready to go forward. The pre-trial delays were the result of Misick fleeing the islands and then fighting extradition from Brazil for a full year after he was found and arrested there.

After being returned to the TCI two years ago, Misick and his attorneys have delayed the start of the trial using numerous pre-trial legal appeals, while Misick’s political party members have complained about the mounting costs.

However, apparently none of the delays have anything to do with the guilt or innocence of Misick or the other defendants.

In fact, the first issue brought before the court was that his extradition request only listed only one of the alleged offences Misick now faces and that the prosecution is using evidence learned in the early 2009 Commission of Inquiry hearings.

The ruling on the extradition point was that the special provisions in existing extradition treaties did not apply in Misick’s case.

A second motion claimed that the trial itself was a political exercise not a criminal prosecution and asked for an immediate dismissal of all charges against Misick.

This motion was rejected because the judge did not view Misick’s trial as anything to do with political persecution.

“This is a criminal prosecution based on facts,” Judge Harrison said.

In response to Hall’s move for another six-month delay, the judge ruled that Hall had adequate time (five years since the inquiry) to engage legal representation and he was sure Hall’s attorney could easily keep up with the pace of the trial.

Former premier Michael Misick

L-R) Former ministers Floyd Hall; Lillian Boyce; Jeffrey Hall and McAlister Hanchell

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Turks-and-Caicos-corruption-trial-set-to-resume-29000.html

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