EDITOR, The Tribune.
As a trained lawyer with extensive experience at the criminal defense Bar back in the day, I was astounded to hear and read that the Crown will be seeking leave from the Court of Appeal to appeal against its recent decision relative to Frank Smith, former PLP member for Ann’s Town, now renamed Free Town, wherein the panel upheld the prior ruling made by the Chief Magistrate.
Smith was acquitted and discharged on several serious criminal charges which, if true, could have landed him in The Bahamas Correctional Centre for years. From day one the Crown failed miserably to marshal its evidence, such as it was. The main prosecution witness was a disaster and totally lacked credibility. The other witnesses, inclusive of several police officers left much to be desired. In my considered view, that case was doomed to fail. In fact, in more than thirty odd years in the profession, I have never before now seen such a juvenile prosecution.
In my view, it would be an abuse of our jurisprudence for the Crown to seek leave to appeal an apparent ‘hopeless’ and legally baseless appeal to the Privy Council. By the Court of Appeal Act, that panel’s decision on an appeal from a Stipendiary & Circuit Magistrate is final. Surely, the learned Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecution know this trite law?
To even contemplate a further appeal, if it were possible in law, appears to be tantamount to a political witch haunt. The nation is already suffering from anxieties of all sorts.Most are now so angry with the FNM and it’s failure, so far, to deliver on major campaign promises. Talks of strikes and go slows abound in the nation and crime continues to be unacceptably high, even if in fairness one seeks to ‘blame’ Minnis and company for the escalation.
Monies that were spent on legal fees in Smith’s case could have been better utilised. By the way, what is the final fee billing herein? The AG is playing cute in that he has, so far, declined to give the people a clear and concise accounting. After forty two years of independence and some 1,450 members in good standing at our local bar, why the necessity to import counsel to prosecute Bahamians? This charade must stop and stop now. The AG and his staff have lost more cases, criminal and civil, in living memory. He is not a dumb man but something is not right and the PM really needs to reassign him.
Some do not like the form of PM Ingraham, but he was the second best Prime Minister we’ve had so far. Brother Christie tried his best but fell so short that he did not register. Minnis has a long long way to go in finding his footing and crafting his legacy. if one is capable to been etched out by “the man who never expected to become Prime Minister”.
Beating this dead horse relative to Frank Smith is a waste of taxpayers’ monies and is serving as a distraction and circus of the highest order. Enough is enough. The Most Honorable PM has changed, for the worst, since elevation to high office. He is being badly advised and, God forbid, manipulated.
My deepest condolences to the former police officer who lost his life in the Abacos to what is reported to be connected to Dorian. The loss . of material things is one thing, but a life is irreplaceable. To God then, even with these events, in all things, be the glory.
ORTLAND H. BODIE, Jr.
September 1, 2019.