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Punch publisher back in court

The false declaration case of Punch Publisher Ivan Johnson and his two female co-defendants was halted in a magistrate’s court yesterday morning pending a decision on an application to the Court of Appeal filed by the trio’s lawyer.

Johnson and the two women reappeared before Magistrate Guillemina Archer in court number 10 on Nassau Street.

Johnson, along with Mickell Gomez, 20, of Farrington Road and Christina Toote, 21, of Star Estates, Prince Charles Drive were charged with making a false declaration to a United States customs officer at Lynden Pindling International Airport on June 27.

The case was slated to resume with several witnesses including police officers and a U.S. Customs and Border Control officer who all showed up to court to testify.

But they never got the chance as Patrick Toothe, the attorney representing  Johnson and the two women, requested that Magistrate Archer adjourn the matter because he filed an application with the Court of Appeal.

Magistrate Archer conceded, adding that Johnson’s other attorneys from Munroe and Associates have also filed an application for a judicial review of the case in the Supreme Court.

She noted that for those reasons she will adjourn the case until March 30, 2012 when she expects to learn the decisions of both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court where it will be determined if the matter will proceed or be dismissed.

On July 1, Johnson, Gomez and Toote were charged with failing to declare $13,795 in U.S. currency, in contravention of the United States of America and The Bahamas Pre-Clearance Act.

Johnson was celebrating his birthday the day he was arrested. He and his co-accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The group remains free on bail.

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