The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) doesn’t want the chief magistrate to preside over the Michelle Reckley corruption case.
Prosecutors on Monday asked Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt to step down from Reckley’s case on the grounds of bias.
They say the bias arose when the chief magistrate “personally visited Reckley while she was in custody” around February 13, 2019.
Reckley, former director of the Urban Renewal Program, is accused of defrauding the Urban Renewal Small Homes Repairs program in Grand Bahama of over $1.2 million.
The charges concern contracts for home repairs in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2017.
Ferguson-Pratt vehemently denied the accusation. She said, “I have never had any dealings with Michelle Reckley outside of court.”
Queen’s Counsels Damian Gomez and Murrio Ducille urged the magistrate to continue with the case, arguing that the application was baseless.
Ferguson-Pratt said she had no issue with the case being heard by another court.
“Speaking for myself, I have no issue with the matter being heard elsewhere,” she said.
“I have not a scintilla of any objection to it but, the basis upon which it is heard elsewhere, I want that to be properly grounded. I never had any dealings with Michelle Reckley outside of this court.”
She added that she also didn’t know Reckley’s alleged conspirators, James Hall, Kylon Vincent, Christopher Symonette, Stefanie Collie and Joseph Lightbourne.
“I don’t know any of these people. We do not interact; we do not move in the same circles.”
Ferguson-Pratt will hear the recusal application on Wednesday at noon.
Eucal Bonaby and Abigail Farrington appeared for the DPP.