Gibson trial judge steps down
A judge yesterday removed herself from presiding over the corruption trial of former Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson, citing conflicts with her busy civil calendar.
Justice Indra Charles announced her decision during a case management hearing ahead of his scheduled September 23 trial date.
Prosecutors allege that Gibson solicited bribes from contractor Jonathan Ash in order to expedite payments related to clean-up efforts following Hurricane Matthew.
In September 2018, Gibson’s legal team of Edward Fitzgerald, QC, Anthony McKinney, QC, and Owen Wells sought to have the voluntary bill of indictment quashed after filing a constitutional motion that alleged “prosecutorial misconduct had rendered a fair trial impossible”.
Charles dismissed the motion in March and fixed a trial date.
Yesterday, Damian Gomez, QC, said that there was no intention to appeal the court’s decision.
Charles said that she had assumed her decision would be challenged, which would have allowed her time to fit the trial into her schedule.
Charles said, “I will send it back to the criminal court for the acting chief justice to designate a court.”
Lead prosecutor James Guthrie, QC, who appeared via video-link from England, said he was “anxious” to have the trial heard on the set date.
Charles emphasized that the decision to step down from the case was a personal one, as she had assumed she would be able to accommodate the criminal trial.
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