Former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Cabinet minister Shane Gibson, who was acquitted last November of 15 counts of bribery, is suing the government alleging malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.
Gibson’s attorneys have filed the suit against the attorney general, the commissioner of police, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Assistant Superintendent of Police Debra Thompson and contractor Jonathan Ash.
Gibson is seeking damages for false imprisonment; damages for malicious prosecution “arising out of multiple charges of extortion, bribery, misconduct in public office laid maliciously and without reasonable or probable cause”; aggravated damages; exemplary damages; interest pursuant to section 3 of the Civil Procedure (Award of Interest) Act, 1992; costs and further relief.
He had been accused of receiving $280,000 from contractor Jonathan Ash in exchange for approving payments totaling $1 million for work done following the cleanup efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Gibson had ministerial responsibility for the cleanup and relief efforts following the storm.
Gibson also wrote official complaints to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, the Bahamas Bar Association and the chairman of the Police Service Commission on February 7, 2020, against Thompson, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson, DPP Garvin Gaskin and Ash’s attorney, Alicia Bowe.
In his letter to Minnis, Gibson noted that ASP Thompson testified that she held a joint meeting between Ash and government official Deborah Bastian in 2017 to “iron out ambiguities” in their witness statements.
Thompson testified that she met with Ash and Bastian, then a consultant with the National Health Insurance Secretariat, on September 25, 2017, “to clear up” differences between their accounts of what happened during a meeting with Gibson in January 2017 about the more than $1 million the government owed Ash for work associated with the post Hurricane Matthew cleanup.
Thompson also admitted, during the trial, to composing three statements on Ash’s behalf in his absence following their initial meeting on June 27, 2017.
Thompson said that she converted the 17 pages of handwritten notes that she had made during the meeting with Ash into a typewritten statement on June 28, 2017.
Ash signed the statement, which Thompson had composed in his absence, on June 30, the court heard.
In his letter to Minnis, Gibson said, “I write to formally commence the respective disciplinary proceedings against the commissioner of police and Assistant Superintendent Debra Thompson pursuant to articles 120 and 121 of the Constitution of The Bahamas and section 50 of the Police Act, 2009.
“Please formally acknowledge receipt of this letter and indicate whether and what steps you intend to take following my complaint as other proceedings may be required to compel your lawful actions as a result of the contents thereof.”
Gibson made a similar complaint to the Police Service Commission against Thompson and Ferguson.
In his complaint to the BBA, Gibson complained about the DPP and Ash’s attorney, Alicia Bowe.