Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest.
By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
FREE National Movement Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest yesterday said it is “very unusual” and “curiously strange” that the attorney general would discontinue prosecuting the two men who were accused of robbing Deputy Prime Minister Phillip Brave Davis at a time when he was acting prime minister.
In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Turnquest said the government and the Office of the Attorney General owe the public a “very clear and transparent” explanation because the case was not an “ordinary” one.
On Monday, the two remaining defendants who were awaiting trial in connection with the December 2013 gunpoint robbery of Mr Davis at his home had the case against them withdrawn in the Supreme Court.
Tyrone Knowles, 25, and Marc McCartney, 21, were due to stand trial before Justice Vera Watkins on December 5 concerning the incident. A third man, 25-year-old Jeffrey King, was to stand trial with Knowles and McCartney. However, in September, he was killed in a shootout with police in Yellow Elder Gardens. He was on bail at the time.
However, in a hearing on Monday, Crown prosecutor Patrick Sweeting produced a nolle prosequi signed by the attorney general asking that the charge be discontinued against the two accused.
Lawyer for the accused Geoffrey Farquharson was also served with a copy of the document. It is unclear why the Office of the Attorney General dropped the case.
The Office of the Attorney General could bring the case against Knowles and McCartney again at any time in the Supreme Court, but it is unlikely.
The Christie administration has come under fire from the Free National Movement in the past for issuing nolle prosequi orders in controversial cases.
“It is curious that the attorney general would take that position when this is not an ordinary situation,” Mr Turnquest said.
“He was the prime minister of the country at the time, obviously they had evidence and reasonable grounds to take the case to trial. So the government and the AG’s Office owes the public a clear and transparent explanation as to why they have taken that position.
“It does not give a very good impression to the public this being the second questionable nolle, the first being that of a former client of the attorney general. This is a very unusual circumstance and in the interest of justice and transparency I believe we are owed an explanation, especially seeing that one of the alleged conspirators was (killed).”
The men were accused of robbing Mr Davis of jewellery worth $93,000, a jewellery box worth $200, Baraka gold jewellery worth $700, an opal top wallet worth $450, a Royal Bank of Canada credit card and a driver’s licence worth $15.
They were also accused of robbing Mr Davis’ wife, Ann Marie, of $2,953, and Wilberforce Seymour of $10. Mr Davis was acting prime minister at the time of the incident as Prime Minister Perry Christie was out of the country.
The FNM has also questioned the Office of the Attorney General’s decision to drop the charges against a married couple in 2012.
George and Janice Hayles each faced a charge of possession of a firearm and ammunition. Authorities alleged that the accused, who were represented by Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson when she was in private practice, were found with a .380 pistol and 19 live rounds of ammunition for the weapon.
Mrs Maynard-Gibson was out of the country when Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald, who was acting attorney general at the time, entered the nolle prosequi.