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Call for probe into minister's handling of firearms case

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Jerome Fitzgerald

CONCERNED Bahamians have called for a further probe into whether Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, who was acting as Attorney General, performed in accordance with the law in discontinuing a firearms case against a married couple.

Responding to questions from The Tribune on those concerns, Sean McWeeney said that Mr Fitzgerald did not perform out of line with the law.

The surname of the defendants - George and Janice - was misspelled until recently as Hayes. It has been revealed that the couple’s last name is Hayles.

Mr McWeeney said: “Acting as Attorney General, his powers are no greater or no lesser. But you have to remember and distinguish between the Attorney General and the person who holds the office.

“So that’s not talking about Allyson Maynard-Gibson or Jerome Fitzgerald or any other individual. It’s talking about the holder of the office. And the person who is the acting Attorney General is holding the office of Attorney General. Therefore that applies to that person during the period he is acting.

“It’s for continuity. Otherwise, for example, if the Attorney General goes away you need continuity so that is the reason you have persons acting.”  

The Hayles were each accused of having a firearm and ammunition for the weapon back in 2010, but the case was dropped on December 28 after Mr Fitzgerald determined that it was appropriate to drop the prosecution. 

As it stands none of the Legal Affairs Ministers wants to claim responsibility for dropping the charges. Both have said they were out of town.

In December, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said she was absent. Not long after Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez said he was attending the World Intellectual Property Organization Conference in Trinidad and Tobago.

The conference met from November 25 to 28.

The FNM has also questioned why Mr Fitzgerald acted as the Attorney General.

He has said, following a review of the file, that he was satisfied that it was appropriate to discontinue the prosecution. He has refused further comment.

Comments

Oracle 9 years, 8 months ago

He must provide an answer...the Attorney General is paid by the people

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larry 9 years, 8 months ago

i find it hard to believe that because the letter "L" but you have to produce a photo government i.d. to obtain court bail someone would have seen this in the AG office something is rotten here

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legalmindatwork 9 years, 8 months ago

I still don't understand how someone who is acting in his capacity....meaning him being the Minister of Education can look at a file and objectively make such a legal decision. How did this file differ from the next?? And regardless if Alyson Maynard-Gibson and Damian Gomez were away they still need to answer for the person that was acting in their capacity. TRANSPARENCY PEOPLEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

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gangof4 9 years, 8 months ago

"If it looks like a rat......smells like a rat.........!" How in the hell could a Minister of Education, who is suddenly thrust into the temporary position of Attorney General for a couple of days because the "real" AG as well as the junior minister in that department are "away", be allowed to make such an important and controversial decision on a case that has been running for almost 3 years!!! Couldn't this kind of decision have waited maybe a couple of days when all the relevant parties were back on island? Even the magistrate seemed stunned by this development. I understand that the AG represented this couple in her life before being appointed AG, but.......Something is just not right here and it needs a lot of explaining to the Bahamian people.

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maryann 9 years, 8 months ago

These people feels when they comes into office they donot need to explain to the public whatever decisions make the because, they have the majority of the seats in parliament and the people give them the rights to make decisions even if they are outlandish .

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jackflash 9 years, 8 months ago

I hope that the FNM keeps the heat on this one...

Does not look good overseas....

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