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Kenred Dorsett's Attorneys Voice 'Unbiased Jury' Concerns

Former Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett at an earlier court appearance.

Former Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett at an earlier court appearance.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett appeared in Supreme Court on Friday for a case management hearing, where his attorneys exchanged questionnaires with prosecutors on the parameters of the upcoming trial.

Mr Dorsett's legal representatives, Wayne Munroe, QC, and Damian Gomez, QC, have maintained their argument that local courts will be unable to seat an unbiased jury if the case does proceed.

It is alleged that Dorsett, while a public official between March 1 and May 9 of this year, demanded and obtained two payments of $10,000 and two payments of $50,000 from Mr Ash knowing he was not lawfully authorised to make the demand. It is also alleged that he, in his previous capacity between the same period at the landfill, "without lawful authority or reasonable excuse", solicited the amounts from Mr Ash "on your account of abstaining from performance or exercise of your asserted power as a minister of environment 'to stop' Jonathan Ash from working at the said sanitary landfill."

It was finally alleged that Dorsett willfully misconducted himself as a public officer without lawful authority.

He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges read to him on October 13.

Before the adjournment, Damian Gomez, QC, Dorsett's attorney, submitted that the defence is unable to produce an effective notice of alibi because there is no date between March 1 and May 9 when the acts were alleged to have occurred.

That issue had previously been raised by Wayne Munroe, QC, on September 1, when Dorsett had appeared in the Magistrate's Court before Magistrate Samuel McKinney for a status hearing.

At the time, Mr Munroe argued that the alleged acts occurred between March 1 and May 9, or a total of 70 days, but said the details provided were not specific to day, time, or location. He further pointed out at the time that the charges only indicate that the alleged acts occurred on the island of New Providence.

Following that argument, Magistrate McKinney explained that Dorsett had 21 days in which to present an alibi or a witness.

After hearing similar submissions from Mr Gomez during those proceedings, Justice Turner transferred the matter to Justice Carolita Bethel's court and adjourned the matter to October 13 for trial. Justice Bethel, as trial judge, will thus consider the defence's submissions concerning the notice of alibi.

The matter will continue January 11th.

In an interview with The Tribune following Friday's hearing, Mr Munroe said his team was considering all options in its effort to secure a fair trial.

Mr Munroe insisted that the nature of the trial and celebrity of the accused, if the matter does proceed, could limit the possibility of seating an unbiased jury and securing a completely fair trail.

He presented the case of former Turks and Caicos Premier Michael Misick, who faced charges of corruption last year.

Mr Misick's trail was allowed to proceed without a jury after his legal team presented the argument that he could not receive a fair trail based on his standing.

Turks and Caicos, a British territory, suspended its constitution and replaced Mr Misick’s elected government with an interim administration.

A new constitution was installed, including measures enacted to improve governance.

These included provisions for no-jury trials and increased the powers of the UK-appointed Governor to intervene in the island’s government.

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