Gomez accepts his side was served appeal notice in Smith’s case
Despite an earlier report from a lawyer for former Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Frank Smith that he had not been served a notice of appeal against the February 1 decision of Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt to acquit Smith of extortion and bribery charges, evidence suggests otherwise.
Speaking on Monday, Damian Gomez, QC, said, “There’s been no evidence of the notice of appeal or the intention to appeal and until we are served, we treat it as a non-occurrence and at this point the time for service has expired.”
However, there is confirmation that Gomez’s office, Lockhart and Co., was served on February 5, a day after prosecutors filed the appeal.
The notice of appeal was received by a staff member, who signed to confirm receipt.
Last night, Gomez said he was not aware that his staff member had indeed been served.
He said if the staff member signed the document confirming that the office was served “I would accept that we were served. The problem that I’m having is that when I asked, and I have asked every day since the ruling was announced, I was told that nothing had been served.”
Gomez said he will have to deal with the issue at his office today.
Gomez’s comments on Monday, made on the Guardian Radio show “The Revolution” with Juan McCartney, left the impression in some people’s minds that the AG’s office had screwed up the matter and the appeal was in trouble.
On Monday, Attorney General Carl Bethel was unwilling to discuss the issue of whether Smith’s side was served the notice of appeal.
“I’m not going to get into a general discussion about whether or not the prosecutor has performed his function,” he said. “I can’t do that because that’s a matter for the court.”
Smith was arrested in July 2017 and accused of demanding and receiving $60,000 from Barbara Hanna from 2016 to 2017, after allegedly helping her company win the contract to clean the Critical Care Block of Princess Margaret Hospital.
Magistrate Ferguson-Pratt said there was “not a scintilla of evidence to support the fact that there was a meeting between Barbara Hanna and the accused prior to the award of the contract”.
The ruling came after Smith’s attorneys made a no case submission.
Prosecutors listed six grounds for the appeal.
They said the magistrate took “extraneous matters into consideration” in her decision and that the decision was “unreasonable or could not be supported having regard to evidence”.
They argued that “evidence was wrongly rejected or inadmissible evidence was wrongly admitted by the magistrate, and that in the latter case there was not sufficient evidence to sustain the decision”.
However, Gomez insisted on Monday that, “The grounds that they’ve published in the paper, really are very, very weak and not arguable.”
Gomez has also said that Smith’s side is drafting a civil action.