Moultrie claims jury decisions have been questioned

House Speaker Halson Moultrie said yesterday that there is precedent of a jury’s decision being questioned in The Bahamas.

Moultrie made the remark after Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin brought up the acquittal of former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Cabinet minister Shane Gibson in the House of Assembly.

On Wednesday, a Supreme Court jury found Gibson not guilty on 15 counts of bribery.

During member statements in the House of Assembly, Hanna-Martin said, “…The people of Englerston have asked me to express to the Gibson family their love and support and that their prayers have been answered by and large.”

She noted that her constituents raised the issue of police conduct.

“In those communities they are on the frontline of interaction with the police. I think they understood or had a level of insight into the issues that came out of that trial,” she said.

During the trial, Gibson’s attorneys said he was the victim of a political conspiracy.

As evidence of this conspiracy, Gibson’s attorneys pointed to a meeting held by investigating officer ASP Debra Thompson between Jonathon Ash, the contractor who allegedly paid him $280,000 in bribes, and public servant Deborah Bastian, who had worked closely with Gibson, to “synchronize” their statements.

As Hanna-Martin wrapped up her comments, Moultrie chimed in.

“Honorable member, I permitted you to go, you know,” Moultrie said.

“I gave you some latitude.”

Hanna-Martin retorted, “No matter’s before the court. No matter’s before the court.”

Moultrie replied, “But, it can still be.”

Hanna-Martin replied, “Pardon me, sir?”

Moultrie said, “Yes, it can still be.”

Hanna-Martin questioned this.

“I was not aware,” Hanna-Martin said.

“The attorney general made a statement: ‘The jury spoke.’ But if it can still be, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I am not aware, Mr. Speaker. I’m not aware.”

Moultrie said, “If you check criminal law you will find that jury decisions have been questioned.”

Hanna-Martin said, “I’ll have to see the provision that challenges the jury. I’ll look for that.”

“It’s unusual, but it has happened,” Moultrie said.

“I can provide you with some precedents.”

Hanna-Martin queried, “A jury decision?”

The speaker moved on to further member statements.

Gibson’s arrest and charge on August 2, 2017, came months after the PLP was swept out of office amid claims of corruption in May 2017.

Following the verdict, Attorney General Carl Bethel noted that the jury had spoken and that “every Bahamian must live with that conclusion”.

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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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