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Bethel: Jury has spoken

Attorney General Carl Bethel last night defended the government’s decision to pursue bribery charges against former Cabinet Minister Shane Gibson.

His comments came hours after a Supreme Court jury found Gibson not guilty on 15 counts of bribery.

In a statement, the attorney general said the constitutionally independent director of public prosecution determined there was “sufficient evidence” to prosecute Gibson.

He also noted that a judge had assessed the evidence and “the law and determined that the defendant had a case to answer”.

“Without any answer from the defendant, and with only one character witness, the jury assessed the evidence and found the [former] minister not guilty of bribery,” Bethel said.

“The jury have spoken and every Bahamian must live with that conclusion.

“The jury are judges of the facts and if they conclude that the facts presented do not amount to bribery then this verdict will undoubtedly be the standard by which we will be bound to judge any such future conduct by public officials in The Bahamas.”

The verdict capped a six-week trial in a case where a second member of the former Progressive Liberal Party administration had been accused of corruption while in office and acquitted.

Former Senator Frank Smith was cleared of bribery charges in the Magistrates Court in February.

His acquittal was upheld by the Court of Appeal in August.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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