Former Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson has hired K.D. Knight, QC, who successfully defended former Public Hospitals Authority Chairman Frank Smith against bribery charges, as his lead counsel.
At a case management hearing before Justice Carolita Bethel yesterday, Damian Gomez, QC, revealed that Knight will now head the defense team in Gibson’s case.
Prosecutors allege that Gibson solicited bribes totaling $330,000 and received $280,000 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.
Gomez said that there were a number of disclosure matters that needed to be resolved ahead of the September 23 trial date.
Bethel asked, “How much time do you need?”
Gomez replied, “The defendant has engaged the services of K.D. Knight as lead counsel. I know he’s long-winded, much more long-winded than I am.”
Bethel set the disclosure hearing for August 30 and September 2.
In February, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt ruled that the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence against Smith on allegations that he had received $60,000 in bribes from Barbara Hanna, the owner of Magic Touch Cleaning Company, from 2016 to 2017.
That decision is under appeal.