In what appears to be another outrageous case of selective justice, Acting Attorney General Jerome Fitzgerald, suddenly and without justification, signed a written directive to have gun and ammunition charges against a couple discontinued.
Fitgerald says he did so because it was a matter of national security. Say what?
Fitzgerald, who was appointed Acting AG because Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson was “conveniently” out of the country, said that his review of the file relating to George and Janice Hayes led to him concluding that the matter should be discontinued.
The charges were discontinued on Friday.
Fitzgerald said that Mrs Maynard-Gibson “left the jurisdiction of The Bahamas on Government business” on the 28th day of November 2012.
“In the absence of the Attorney General I acted as Attorney General. During the absence of Mrs Maynard-Gibson, I reviewed the file relating to Janice Hayes and George Hayes and satisfied myself that it was appropriate to discontinue the prosecution.
“As a consequence, I executed a nolle prosequi. This is a matter of national security and as a consequence I have no further comment on this subject.”
Curiously, Mr Fitzgerald gave no further explanation as to what aspect of the case had anything to do with national security.
The Hayes each faced a charge of possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition.
It was claimed that on February 3, 2010 the two were found in possession of a .380 pistol and 19 live rounds of ammunition for the weapon.
Both Janice and George Hayes pleaded not guilty to the charges at their arraignment, days after their arrest in 2010. They have continued to deny the allegations against them.
On December 21, their attorney was expected to make a closing address to the court concerning the evidence brought against her clients.
However, prosecutor ASP Ercel Dorsett brought correspondence from the Attorney General’s office giving a directive to discontinue proceedings.
Adding to the mystery surrounding this case, the nolle prosequi was not dated and it was not clear who had signed it.
Consequently, it was rejected by the deputy chief magistrate due to the ommisions and the prosecutor was asked to send the document back. The case was adjourned to December 28.
Last Friday, Garvin Gaskin, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, appeared before the court and said the issues that had arisen concerning the document had been rectified.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Bethell inspected the document and asked Gaskin who the Acting Attorney General was who had signed the directive.
“The Acting Attorney General at the time was Jerome Fitzgerald,” said Mr Gaskin.
This was especially strange, as it should have been Deputy AG Damien Gomez who shoud have been left in charge when Mrs Maynard-Gibson left the country. There was no explanation offered as to why that did not happen.
The magistrate addressed the couple and told them of the document’s contents.
However, she said, the matter could be brought back at any time the Attorney General wished as the pair were not acquitted, only discharged.
DEA chiefs in The United States have expressed concern about the “Nigerian” style of justice that is occurring under the PLP.
FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis has called for an investigation to be made into this most unsual state of affairs
It should be noted that Mr Hayes does bodywork on Mrs Maynard-Gibsons’s vehicles.