The prime minister could be called as a witness in the corruption trial of former Labour Minister David Shane Gibson.
At a fixture hearing before Justice Carolita Bethel yesterday, Gibson’s lawyer, Owen Wells, asked that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, who two years ago led the Free National Movement (FNM) to a crushing defeat over the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), be made available to the defense.
Wells said, “He has vital information; there might be a need to issue a subpoena.”
Bethel, however, said that the court had to be satisfied that Minnis was necessary to the proceedings.
She said, “If you want a sitting prime minister to appear, we need to know he has something sufficient to offer and evidence. You would have to let me know when you anticipate to have him called.”
Bethel assumed carriage of the matter last month after Justice Indra Charles suddenly stepped down from the case, citing conflicts with her busy civil calendar.
Wells also raised pre-trial issues of disclosure and Bethel urged the defense and prosecution to “work together to see if they can iron out their issues”.
Prosecutors allege that Gibson solicited bribes from contractor Jonathan Ash in order to expedite payments related to clean-up efforts following Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Gibson and two other former Progressive Liberal Party parliamentarians faced criminal charges over alleged corrupt behavior while in office after the party lost the government in a landslide defeat on May 10, 2017.
James Guthrie, QC, appeared via videolink from London along with local counsel Terry Archer and Destiny McKinney.