First the legal facts: Senator Frank Smith was charged with 13 counts of bribery and one count of extortion in August 2017. The Magistrate Joyann Pratt found that he had no case to answer because the Crown had not provided evidence to support its case. She dismissed all charges, acquitted him and pronounced his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt on 1st February 2019. The Crown has not said whether it will appeal or not but it can do so in law. As bloody minded and immoral as the FNM Government is, don’t put it past them.
Second the meaning of the decision: quite apart from the innocence of Mr. Smith, the decision in the case has implications for the political strategy of the FNM going forward. The Judge took the view that the case was not grounded in facts and castigated the conduct in the case of two Ministers of the Government Dr Duane Sands, the Minister of Health and the Minister of National Security Marvin Dames. In any normal circumstances and country, they should have submitted their resignations on the day of the decision and if not should have neem dismissed.
The narrative of the FNM has been that the PLP was corrupt and they used the Frank Smith, Shane Gibson and Ken Dorsett cases to try to prove that point.
Hubert Ingraham once said that political scores are settled at 6 p m on election day. That morality or ethic does not exist in the FNM of today. They are a mean, vicious and vengeful lot, without a moral compass. They will do anything to keep in power. The decision by the Magistrate says a lot about the content of the characters of those people who lead us today. It should boost the fortunes of the PLP and their quest to remove Mr. Minnis and his colleagues from office.
The Attorney General[s1] Carl Bethel also has much to answer. It is clear that the case should not have been brought in the first place. The Attorney General had said early in the term that there was no evidence to support corruption charges and then a week later relented and then followed on with the charges. In retrospect and while going on, the cases looked entirely politically conceived.
The lawyers who conducted the case including the Attorney General on behalf of the Crown should all be reported to the Bar Association for ethical violations. They knew that the case was worthless from the start and should have withdrawn the case. They failed in their ethical duty and should be disbarred.
The administration of justice has received a black eye from this. It lays bare the fact that only people of means have the wherewithal to defeat the power of a government which is determined to convict you come hell or high water. You have the manipulations of the evidence, like the tampering of the phone log or the suspicion at least of such. You have the Minister giving a contract which appeared to be an inducement to the principal witness. You have the principal witness saying that she was pressured to come to court and bring and action against Mr. Smith.
There are implications for Barbara Hanna who deservedly has been branded a liar. She needs to go to a church and confess her sins. We hope forgiveness awaits after some time in hell.
The Shane Gibson case is even worse in terms of the evidence which appears to have been coached and tampered.
So, going forward the PLP must now remind its people that you have to hear the other side before making up your mind.
We hope that this brings an end to this matter. We hope that the Attorney General finally becomes a true minister of justice and stands up to his colleagues and tells the Prime Minister that all the cases Gibson and Dorsett are a tissue of lies. They must all be withdrawn.