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Man Granted Nolle Accused Of Gun Smuggling

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE MAN who was granted the “gift” of a nolle prosequi by then-acting Attorney General Jerome Fitzgerald had been suspected of smuggling guns into the country, Senator Desmond Bannister revealed yesterday.

Shortly after a statement by Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell on the grave threat gun smuggling poses to the country today – in which he showed several slides of automatic weapons now available to criminals – Mr Bannister revealed that George Hayles was suspected by police of using wrecked cars to bring in illegal firearms when the charges against him were suddenly dropped.

Mr Hayles was represented by the law firm of Allyson Maynard-Gibson at some point before she took office as Attorney General, however she was out of the country when the nolle prosequi (no prosecution) was entered.

So was her deputy, MP Damian Gomez, meaning Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald was acting attorney general and empowered to make the decision, which he again defended last week. However, he refused to give details, stressing that according to the Constitution, no entity has the power to question the decision.

In the Senate yesterday, Mr Bannister said he is certain the case would not have been dropped had Mrs Maynard-Gibson been in office at the time.

He said: “We know all too well the manner in which criminals have used wrecked cars to bring illegal firearms into The Bahamas. However, where we have a problem is that when the police do their hard work in detecting this larger number of firearms being imported through wrecked cars, having the criminal justice system cheated by issuing a nolle prosequi to persons who the police charge with this very activity.”

He said: “I know that the infamous nolle prosequi was issued during the absence from office of the Honourable Attorney General; and I’m confident that had she been in office there is no way that she would have issued a nolle prosequi to someone who the police alleged used wrecked cars in order to bring illegal firearms into the Bahamas, even if he is alleged to have been a client of her firm.”

Mr Bannister added that he was confident the attorney general was aware of the impact the case’s dismissal would have on the morale of the police force.

Janice Hayles and George Hayles each faced a charge of possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition.

It was claimed that on February 3, 2010 the two were found in possession of a .380 pistol and 19 live rounds of ammunition for the weapon.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment days after their arrest in 2010.

The nolle prosequi was initially rejected by the deputy chief magistrate because the document was not dated and it was not clear who had signed it.

However once rectified, the case was discontinued on December 28.

At that time, Deputy Chief Magistrate Carolita Bethell advised the couple that the matter could be brought back at any time the Attorney General wished as the pair were not acquitted, only discharged.

In the following months, the Free National Movement made repeated calls for the government to clarify why officials ordered the gun and ammunition charges to be dropped.

Opposition Leader Dr Hubert Minnis criticised Prime Minister Perry Christie for failing to allow the FNM its own independent review of a dropped fire arms possession case.

Yesterday, Mr Bannister said: “Mr Hayles is very lucky that the real Attorney General was on leave when he got his gift nolle prosequi after the police had done an exemplary job investigating the case; the police prosecutors had already called all of their witnesses and closed their case; and the defence had completed their closing argument.

He added: “I guess someone did not trust the Magistrate to deliver the decision that they wanted.”

Comments

banker 6 years, 2 months ago

With the PLP, everything is for sale, including justice, the country, social well-being and sadly, the truth.

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 2 months ago

Shock and Awe...NOT!!

Now to trace the connection back to Fitzgerald, there must have been a link there somewhere for him to pinpoint this case so quickly and decisively, and waited with baited breath for his two peers to be out of country to effect the plan. Should be interesting to see the fallout.

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Collin 6 years, 2 months ago

Fitzgerald says no one or no law can compel him to answer this question honestly. Well the reality is as long as he does not answer the Bahamian people - his bosses, his integrity is called into question. This is further compounded by the fact that the Bahamian people know that his general in the general elections in Marathon is a convicted drug dealer. In fact, this is the person he used to target the young male vote in Marathon - would anyone seek to take a guess as to how that was done?

So now the Bahamian people have been provided additional information that individuals you let go free were 'known' to the police for allegedly smuggling of drugs.

So now you better explain to the Bahamian people how this is a matter of national security. No more smoke and mirrors answer WE the Bahamian people and answer us now!!!

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Collin 6 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, should have been smuggling of guns not drugs.

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lazybor 6 years, 2 months ago

this made my dayhttp://tinyurl.com/c7l9ck6" width="1" />

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Observer 6 years, 2 months ago

So when ( i.e., period of time) did Mr. Bannister find out (discovered) that firearms are being smuggled into the Bahamas on board wrecked vehicles? I wonder..............are the shippers culpable also? They facilitate the transport of the vehicles on board their vessel(s). So at sometime, the shipper also has possession of the gun(s) and ammo.

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maryann 6 years, 2 months ago

The lot of them is a joke, running this country like this is a Banana Republic. They called the former Prime Minister a clown. We now see who are the real clowns.

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Honestman 6 years, 2 months ago

All right thinking Bahamians should be horrified at this situation. If the government is not forced to come clean on this matter then we are headed towards a country like Zimbabwe where the ruling party completely tramples on the rule of law and the rights of its citizens. Bahamas, this matter is all about trust. How can this administration be trusted if it is not prepared to explain itself to the opposition. The more it tries to duck the issue the more it seems it has something to hide. Shame on the Prime Minister for promising that the files would be made available to the FNM for review and then reneging on that pledge. Bahamas be afraid, be very afraid.

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banker 6 years, 2 months ago

We are already there, just like Zimbabwe. No one is shocked anymore with the criminality of the politicians. The man on the street accepts it now as if it is standard operating procedure. They name airports after Pindling and he was a criminal drug-runner who made millions from Norman's Cay. Bahamians have no shame and have lost their moral compass. The current government is in the same boat.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 2 months ago

with all the wreaked cars we have why are they importing wreaked cars ,,Because the duty is less then they put them back togeather and sell them , these people are organized gangsters ,,its the 1980,s again ..

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proudloudandfnm 6 years, 1 month ago

Allyson was off island and as the attorney of record could not dismiss the case without showing a connection to her and the accused. So she simply said "Hey Jerome I'll be off island next week so can you act as AG and dismiss this case for me please?"

Crooked bunch o folks we got in our government now....

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gkeato 5 years, 8 months ago

....and Leslie Miller is trying to get rid of the Privy Council? When all of this crookedness shows up everyday by "members of the Government"

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