Franklyn Williams, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, rushed to the Court of Appeal yesterday to bail out one of the attorneys from the Attorney General’s office and finish arguing a case.
The lawyer, Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, was placed into custody on the orders of Dame Joan Sawyer after the attorney refused to stand up when the judge ordered her to do so.
The case before the court involved Daniel Andres Ayo and Luis Mendez, two Florida residents who are charged wth the July murder of a man in Bimini,
Ms Ferguson-Pratt was arguing against granting the two men permission to leave the country while their cases was still pending.
The Supreme Court had previously granted them bail under the condition that they not leave the Bahamas before their trial.
Meanhwile, a ‘nolle prosqui’ was entered in the murder charge against Mendez. However, he still faced charges of possession of dangerous drugs and an unlicensed firearm. The AG’s office filed an appeal against granting the men bail.
The appellate court upheld the Supreme Court’s decision to grant the men bail, but deferred the decision as to whether they had to remain in the Bahamas until yesterday’s court appearance.
Ms Ferguson-Pratt was arguing that since the men were charged with serious crimes, they should not be allowed to leave the Bahamas as it was unlikely they would return for trial.
Judge Sawyer got increasingly upset with Ferguson-Pratt, wanting to know why the AG’s office was presenting the case after a nolle prosequi had been filed. At one point the judge slammed a file down on her desk and yelled at the attorney.
Exasperated, Ms Ferguson-Pratt said, “With all due respect, in that case, I am not able to assist the court any further,” and sat down.
Dame Sawyer ordered her to stand up. The attorney failed to comply and the judge ordered her into custody.
In the end, Dame Sawyer decided to allow the men to leave The Bahamas, saying that they were “honourable men” who she felt would return for trial at a later date.