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Court Orders 11 Bailed Yet No Sign Of Jean Rony

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Jean Rony Jean-Charles

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

THE attorney for detainee Jean Rony Jean-Charles yesterday called for the government to be found in contempt of court for failing to honour a Supreme Court judge’s order to produce his client and bring evidence to justify his arrest and detention earlier this month.

This call came as a judge granted bail to 11 other detainees – eight adults and three children until they return to court in January.

Fred Smith, QC, submitted to Justice Gregory Hilton that notwithstanding the government’s breach of his order, it should be afforded an additional 21 days to produce Mr Jean-Charles and also provide justification for his deportation on November 24 as per Mr Smith’s writ of habeas corpus.

Mr Smith further charged that Justice Hilton exercise his discretion under Article 28 of the Constitution to make an order to cause Mr Jean-Charles to be returned to The Bahamas.

In response, the Crown, represented by Gary Francis, submitted that Mr Smith’s writ of habeas corpus ought to be dismissed on the basis that no one bearing the name Jean Rony Jean-Charles is in the custody of the state, and that an individual bearing a name similar to the detainee was “returned” to Haiti days prior to Mr Smith’s filing of the writ of habeas corpus.

According to a return to the writ of habeas corpus filed on Monday by Acting Director of Immigration Keturah Ferguson, on behalf of Immigration Director William Pratt and Peter Joseph, officer-in-charge of the Detention Centre, a Haitian man was interviewed by immigration officers during a “routine patrol” in the Fire Trail Road area.

That man, the document said, gave his name as Jean Charles, aged 31, date of birth December 1, 1985. Jean Charles was not able to provide any documents or “any proof as to his lawful presence” in the country, and was subsequently taken to the Detention Centre for “further investigation relative to suspected contravention of the Immigration Act.”

According to the document, Jean Charles subsequently signed an immigration profile form confirming his identity and other information he provided to the authorities as correct, in particular, the name he gave and his date of birth. He “duly signed” his name as Jean Charles, the return said.

A subsequent check of birth records at the Bahamas Registrar General’s Department based on the information provided by Jean Charles yielded “negative results”.

The document further said there was “no record or any other evidence presented or subsequently uncovered” to show that Jean Charles was either born in The Bahamas, entered The Bahamas legally, obtained leave to enter The Bahamas pursuant to the Immigration Act, nor had any status whatsoever which entitled him to remain in The Bahamas.

As a result, the document said the man was “safely returned” to his home country on a Bahamasair charter flight on Friday, November 24. The document said the man again confirmed his identity as “Jean Charles” during a roll call of passengers prior to boarding and “appeared to be in good health”.

The Bahamasair flight was met by both Bahamian and Haitian officials in Haiti, where Jean Charles was handed over to Haitian authorities who “duly accepted their nationals for subsequent release.”

As such, the document said any “custody and control” of Jean Charles or “whatever name he may be called” came to an end on that day in November. Thus, the return certified that the detainee in question is not in the “custody or control” of either the Detention Centre or Department of Immigration. And he was not in the custody and control of either entity on November 29 or December 7, the dates the application for a writ of habeas corpus and the granted of said writ was granted, respectively.

And it was for this reason chiefly that Mr Francis submitted that Mr Smith’s writ of habeas corpus be dismissed.

Mr Francis also submitted that based on the information contained in the return to writ, if the information submitted by “Jean Charles” to immigration authorities on September 18 was intended to deceive them, then that person “contributed significantly” to his own fate.

Regarding Mr Smith’s calls for an order to be made to have Mr Jean-Charles returned to the Bahamas, Mr Francis said it would be a “far stretch” for the government to reach into another sovereign country in Haiti and bring Mr Jean-Charles back.

However, Mr Smith countered by saying while the return to writ purports to be referencing his client, Mr Jean-Charles and the “Jean Charles” taken into custody have different birth dates: Mr Jean Charles was born on December 5, 1982.

Further, Mr Smith noted how according to a “replacement list of Haitian nationals scheduled for repatriation” on November 24, in the return to writ, “Jean Charles’” place of birth is Nassau, Bahamas, notwithstanding the return referring to “Jean Charles” as a Haitian national.

Mr Smith further charged that even if Mr Jean-Charles and “Jean Charles” are the same person, the return to writ does not show any justification for that individual’s arrest and subsequent detention.

Upon hearing these and other submissions from both sides, Justice Hilton said he would give a determination on Mr Jean-Charles’ matter at a later date, subsequent to him reviewing the transcripts and the relevant authorities upon which counsel had relied to support their case.

On the 11 detainees granted bail yesterday, Justice Hilton said those individuals would themselves sign to pay $1,000 should they not show up on their respective adjourned dates, and report to the Department of Immigration once a week every Wednesday until then.

Justice Hilton will also give a ruling on whether two others who were detained but later released were lawfully arrested, namely Jamaican national Ricardo Johnson who is married to a Bahamian citizen, and Reggionel Raymonvil, who was born in The Bahamas.

Mr Johnson, who is in possession of a resident spousal permit due to expire in October of 2018, was detained on December 1 and released on December 8. Mr Raymonvil was detained on November 29 and released on December 7, according to court documents.

After the hearing, Mr Smith told reporters the hearing was a “fantastic victory” for the “rule of law” and “due process”.

“What this clearly establishes is immigration simply does not have the right, the lawful authority to simply pick up people and hold them indefinitely, that everybody is entitled to be brought before the court to decide whether their detention is illegal, and pending that, they’re entitled to bail in the meantime,” he said.

“People can’t just disappear into the Detention Centre forever. People have rights. This is very simple.”

Earlier this month, Mr Pratt told The Tribune Mr Jean-Charles, who relatives said was born and raised in The Bahamas to Haitian parents, had been flown to Port au Prince, Haiti on November 24 after not being able to prove he was in the country legally.

Representatives from the Haitian embassy later told The Tribune they have no record of Mr Jean-Charles being repatriated. When contacted, Kerl Chatelier, first secretary of the Haitian Embassy, said when the Immigration Department is sending suspected illegal immigrants back to Haiti his embassy is notified of the individuals involved.

Applications for habeas corpus were subsequently filed in the Supreme Court against the attorney general, minister of immigration, director of immigration, and superintendent of the Carmichael Road based Detention Centre on November 29.

Comments

birdiestrachan 1 year, 11 months ago

The man apparently has many names . For sure he is alive and well. But the show must go on. and the Star is the out spoken QC.

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sealice 1 year, 11 months ago

He's probably livin large in South Florida for the holidays.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 11 months ago

Or ............... He is a hologram created for Amnesty by Red Fred.

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rawbahamian 1 year, 11 months ago

This man is fighting tooth and nail for a foreign national but where is he when it's time to fight for Freeport's economy or when Bahamian's right's are being trampled ??? He is just simply looking for fame but in the public's eye he is only achieving infamy and will be quickly forgotten within moments of his expiration.

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My2centz 1 year, 11 months ago

Why should there be signs of him when he was deported to Haiti? Whether or not he's in contact with his family and immigration lawyer in the Bahamas is a personal matter.

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jamaicaproud 1 year, 11 months ago

He will be back. If you think in the Caribbean we will sit by and allow natural born people to be disenfranchised and be stateless, you have something to think about. Due process and rights. You guys are breaking every law, your own law, plus law of charity.

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DEDDIE 1 year, 11 months ago

Love him or hate him, Mr Smith is tenacious. He makes a living going up against rookie attorneys in the AG office. Ironically, a first year law student could win most of these cases. You don't hold someone in jail for three years without a trial and expect someone like Mr Smith not to win. Such cases should be settle without the necessary burden of going to court.

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My2centz 1 year, 11 months ago

@Jamaicaproud 1.Birthright citizenship is not Bahamian law. The Caribbean community has no say in this. Just like you sat by and watched the Dominican Republic revoke citizenships of generational Haitians, you will have to sit this one out as well. Btw, wasn't the PM of DR presented with some award by Jamaica, this year?

2.The individual in question could not provide the officers with provide the officers with proof that he was born in the Bahamas. Immunization cards with distorted birth dates, fake graduation certificates and school ID cards, may work in Jamaica..but it's not sufficeint in the Bahamas. He should have gotten his documents where the other fakers get them.

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jamaicaproud 1 year, 11 months ago

You are correct. This joker accepted some award and people are not happy. Our leader now is weak, too weak.

As for the individual in question. Who knows, we don't know, you don't know, its what they say. In most countries, these things are determined by some sort of court, not by basic civil servants, that's all I am saying.

I can guarantee you that Jamaica's registration system is very advanced. Of course, there is fraud, but it's not because of lax administration. For example, some people do obtain drivers licence fraudulently. However, if you try to print something at home, that won't ever work.

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My2centz 1 year, 11 months ago

The courts are not needed to examine fraudulent documents. The various departments responsible for issuing them, should be the first and last stop in this process. And immunization records and school records are not proof of birth or citizenship.

Also when was the last time Jamaica successfully dealt with an illegal immigration problem even close to the Bahamas'? People tend to run away from, not to, Jamaica. So I'm sure your court has the capacity to entertain fake documents in court proceedings for the ten extremely desperate illegals who go there.

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jamaicaproud 1 year, 11 months ago

Come on my brother do not resort to insults, surely you know better. THERE are 2 issues. Resolve and capability. Jamaica has it's issues but people do go there believe it or not. Some years ago a few boats started poking up in Jamaica with a hundred here or there. They were fed clothed medicated and sent back.

I do not know that we discriminate but Jamaicans are fully aware of the voodoo tradition and don't trust them enmasse. I don't know what you think life in Jamaica is like for the average Jamaican, a par from devauations and Government BS, life own food, but we strive for better. http://jis.gov.jm/amnesty-persons-liv...">http://jis.gov.jm/amnesty-persons-liv... http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/H...">http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/H...

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jamaicaproud 1 year, 11 months ago

There is an issue of small craft transporting criminals between Haiti Jamaica and the Bahamas. But no big vessel can infiltrate like that. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/6...">http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/6... http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20...">http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20... Hope you shaping up well for Christmas my brother

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 11 months ago

Every illegal pregnant woman or illegal woman giving birth to a child must be sent back to Haiti immediately. That will prevent this mess. The child will have 18 years to acquaint themselves with Haiti and they will not be stateless. Similarly, every child of an illegal person under the age of ten should be sent to Haiti with the illegal parent.

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jamaicaproud 1 year, 11 months ago

I agree. But let the courts do it, not one guy in a green uniform.

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My2centz 1 year, 11 months ago

@Jamaicaproud Jamaica has never faced an onslaught of illegals like the Bahamas continues to experience. There is an extreme difference in resources needed to process hundreds every few years versus thousands annually. To hold Jamaica as the standard on how to process illegals, is absurd. Jamaica has an emigration problem. There are more Jamaicans outside of your country than in. That speaks volumes about the quality of life for the average Jamaican.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 11 months ago

Jamaicans do the same thing that Haitians do ......... they move illegally overseas and send all of their money back home and smuggle their family to wherever they go ...... make a social nuisance of themselves in their adopted countries and deal drugs and guns etc. ......... We do not need to pay this Tribune imposter NO mind.

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jamaicaproud 1 year, 11 months ago

Well the 2 pronged attack from you and Emacs wont deter me. I will stay away from insults. I wil say maybe some Jamaicans sell drugs because Bahamian are too mad to to grow their own. Or don't forget that thousands of your citizens live in Jamaica and get royal treatment. That though we have issues there is a law in the land, that does not discriminate based on Nationality. In fact almost weekly a Bahamian is caught there with one drug or another

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