The Privy Council refused the Office of the Attorney General’s bid to appeal the acquittal of Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Frank Smith on bribery and extortion charges.
“Having considered an application for permission to appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas dated 28th August 2019 in the matter between [the] Commissioner of Police (appellant) and Frank Smith (respondent) and having considered written submissions from the parties, we have agreed to report to Your Majesty as our opinion that permission to appeal should be refused because there is no risk that a serious miscarriage of justice has occurred in this case”, the Privy Council said.
The Court of Appeal in August unanimously refused to order that Smith be retried, as it dismissed an “unsustainable” appeal by the Crown.
Prosecutors had asked the court to set aside the decision of Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt to acquit Smith because she found his accuser, Barbara Hanna, was an unreliable witness.
Shortly after the PLP’s defeat in the May 2017 general election, Smith was charged with abusing his position as chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), by demanding and receiving bribes from cleaning company owner Hanna over the award of a 2016 contract for the critical care block of the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).
In February 2019, Ferguson-Pratt acquitted Smith.
PLP Leader Philip Davis, who, according to the evidence, sent Hanna to Smith in 2015 after she had not heard from the tender board in respect to her bid, said the prosecution was politically motivated.