September 22, 2020

Turks and Caicos Islands Court of Appeal rules against the Appellants [Michael Misick and others] in their appeal against Trial Without Jury


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TCIFrom TCI Affairs

The TCI Affairs have been reliably informed that the Turks and Caicos Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal of the Defendants (former Premier Michael Misick and others) in the Courruption cases and affirmed the decision of justice to try the defendants alone without a jury.

On June 23,2014,justice Paul Harrison ruled that the corruption trials should be tried by judge alone. Justice Harrison a former President of the Jamaican Court of Appeal was appointed by the Governor to preside over the corruption cases.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Court of Appeal, comprising President Jamaican Edward Zacca, Jamaican Ian Forte QC and Barbadian Elliott Mottley QC upheld the decision of justice Paul Harrison.

According to well placed sources the Appeal Court judges heard arguments for close to two weeks from prominent British and Local Lawyers representing the defendants. At the end of the arguments which included a response from SIPT lead Attorney Andrew Mitichell QC, the Appeal Court Judges indicated that they will not be rushed in making their decision and enquired how soon they will be able to get the transcripts of the proceedings.

The sources said that a decision was not expected until sometime in October, with the tri al scheduled to commence in earnest early in December 2014.

Sources revealed how shocked defence lawyers were when on Thursday 11 September, 2014, they were told that the judges have already reached a decision and they were summoned to court. The Court then announced that the appeal agani st justice Harrison’s decision to try the case alone was dismissed and that the written decision would follow sometime later.

This decision left many judicial watchers stunned and they are wondering why the rush and what prompted the Court of Appeal to act in such haste.

There are already negative public speculations in relation to this decision..

This publication understands that prominent British Lawyer Courtenay Griffiths QC, the lawyer for former Turks and Caicos Islands Premier Michael Misick, said he would be appealing that decision to the in London.

However the TCI Affairs was informed by a legal source that the decison of the Turks and Caicos Islands Court of Appeal is final and the defendants can now only appeal to the Privy Council on a Constitutional point of law.

The legal source informed the TCI Affairs that the constitutional point of law could very well be the security of tenure of justice Harrison. According to the source lawyers for the defendants had argued that justice Harrison did not have security of tenure since his appointment was for a short time and solely dependent on the Governor, it breached the principles of impartiality and judicial independence and he ought to be removed.

It appears that the Court of Appeal judges also dismissed this argument. Sources told this publication that if an appeal is lodged with the Privy Council on constitutional grounds, this would put the trial date of December 6, 2014 in jeopardy. Therefore the trial may not start until sometime early in 2015.

And the saga is set to continue as the taxpayers of the Turks and Caicos Islands is about to be taken for another ride. In the meantime SIPT lawyers may be smiling from ear to ear.

IMAGE: Photo Above: Courtesy the tci sun,(from Left to right) Justice of Appeal Elliot Mottley, QC, President of the Court of Appeal, the Right Honorable Edward Zacca, Justice of Appeal Ian Forte, QC.

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