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Jean Rony Awaits Ruling On Government Challenge

Jean Rony Jean-Charles outside court at an earlier appearance.

Jean Rony Jean-Charles outside court at an earlier appearance.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS-born Jean Rony Jean-Charles will now await the Court of Appeal's ruling after lawyers gave closing arguments on Friday in a hearing of the government's appeal over a judge's order that the deportee be returned to this country.

Arguments over the relevance of Mr Jean-Charles' identity in the adjudication of the government's appeal took centre stage on Friday with lead prosecutor Loren Klein insisting the Supreme Court judge never made a conclusive finding on the issue.

Lead defence attorney Fred Smith, QC, maintained the issue surrounding both Mr Jean-Charles' identity and status was irrelevant.

He argued there existed a third category of people in the country in similar positions as Mr Jean-Charles who do not fall under certain definitions under the Immigration Act that would compel the state to remove them.

The Crown is seeking to have Supreme Court judge Gregory Hilton's landmark decision concerning Mr Jean-Charles' controversial deportation from The Bahamas to Haiti and subsequent return to this country overturned.

At the time, Justice Hilton found Mr Jean-Charles was "unlawfully expelled" from The Bahamas after having been unlawfully detained from September 17, 2017 to November 24, 2017, in breach of his right guaranteed under Article 25 (1) of the Constitution.

Justice Hilton further found Mr Jean-Charles has been deprived of his personal liberty, unlawfully arrested and detained/falsely imprisoned in breach of his rights guaranteed him under the Constitution.

He ordered the government to issue a travel document to Mr Jean-Charles to "allow and permit" him to travel from Haiti into The Bahamas, and that it pay the "reasonable cost" of Mr Jean-Charles' journey "forthwith upon his return".

Justice Hilton further ordered the minister and director of immigration should, no later than 60 days after Mr Jean-Charles' return and upon his application, issue "such status" that would "permit him to remain in The Bahamas and to legally seek gainful employment".

The Court of Appeal reserved its judgment in the matter and has not yet given a date when appellate judges will deliver their ruling.

The matter was heard before Court of Appeal President Sir Hartman Longley, Justice Jon Isaacs and Acting Justice Sir Michael Barnett.

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