I have read the Attorney-General’s press release about the criminal charges brought against me. She makes clear the charges, which I believe are entirely, obviously and transparently manufactured and bogus, were brought by the Police without reference to her and without legal advice from her office.
The Attorney General has stated:
“As a lawyer, especially as a Queen’s Counsel, Mr. Frederick Smith QC is aware, or ought to be aware, that on a daily basis the Police bring prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Courts, without reference to the Attorney General and without seeking the advice of the Attorney General. This authority is derived from the laws of The Bahamas, namely the Police Act.
“The recent charge in the Magistrates’ Court against Mr. Smith was laid by the Police without reference to me. By law, it was not necessary for the Police to seek my advice, the Police did not seek my advice and I did not advise the Police. I can categorically say that I did not consult the Prime Minister in relation to this charge about which I was not consulted nor did the Prime Minister ever communicate with me about this charge. There was no “political decision at the very highest level” nor at any level. I deny this totally unfounded and untruthful allegation made by Mr. Smith.
I also deny the outrageous allegations by Mr. Smith against me and my Office including that I have “chosen to victimize” him, that I am “persecuting” him and all other such allegations against me.
“The statements made by Mr. Smith appear to be defamatory. I hope that Mr. Smith will reflect on what he said, accept that the said statements are false and publicly acknowledge this with a full and unqualified apology. If Mr. Smith fails to take advantage of this opportunity, the egregious wrong that he has committed will thereby be aggravated. In that circumstance, in consultation with my Counsel, I reserve my right to take further action.”
Let the Record be clear; my assertions of victimization were made against her Office, not her personally.
The Attorney General says that she was not consulted. This is an astounding fact!
With respect however, this does not excuse her failure to have ensured she was consulted by her agents before the charges were laid against me.
In addition, her statement of being ignorant of the charges and of lack of involvement in the matter raise even more fundamental and troubling questions. It only makes matters worse!
For the reasons I set out in this statement it is an unacceptable abdication of Constitutional Responsibility for the Attorney General to seek to excuse my arrest, charge and prosecution by her stated ignorance.
Given my high public profile, the huge media attention to the attack on me by Keod Smith at Jaws Beach, the work of Save The Bays and the Nygard/Christie and PLP Saga unfolding, it is unacceptable that the Attorney General did not ensure she was consulted and part of the decision making process about charging me.
As I have stated in my claims of victimization, under Article 78 of the Constitution, Sections 54 to 56 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and Section 39 the Police Act, the Attorney General is ultimately responsible for all criminal prosecutions.
In addition by Constitutional Convention and Custom she has Ministerial Responsibility for the acts and omissions of her agents, such as the Commissioner of Police when laying criminal charges.
She, as Attorney General, remains Constitutionally responsible for the embarrassing public pillory of me being paraded before the courts as a common criminal and bringing my reputation and good name into public odium, ridicule and contempt.
Beyond that, this debacle brings the legal profession and the office of Queen’s Counsel into disrepute.
Just as the Attorney General’s office brings with it huge responsibility, so does the position of Queen’s Counsel within the judicial system. All lawyers are officers of the court but as one of only 13 Queen’s Counsel of the Inner Bar, I am, like the Attorney General, an adviser to her Majesty the Queen. An attorney can only become a QC if they pass tests of probity and high ethical standards.
It is highly disturbing that in a British Commonwealth country, a QC has been arrested (which so far as I am aware is unprecedented in The Bahamas), following a complaint made by someone acting for a group I am investigating as part of a suit against the Government.
As has been widely publicised, Save The Bays has recently brought Judicial Review proceedings against the Government over its role in Keod Smith’s and Peter Nygard’s unregulated development. The Government has been ordered to disclose its correspondence with both men, which could prove profoundly embarrassing for them, especially given the recent political storm about Nygard boasting to have “won The Bahamas back” and bankrolled the PLP.
They have yet to make any disclosure despite a court order to that effect.
During my 35 years as an Attorney at The Bahamas Bar, I have never been arrested or charged. It was entirely foreseeable that people would question whether the high-profile litigation and the arrest were connected.
The issues at stake are about far more than me and Keod Smith and me and the Attorney General. At the heart of this matter lies the Rule of Law and respect for our democracy. What kind of nation are we if citizens cannot question political activities without fearing the repercussions, if political principles are sacrificed for political expediency? If the Environment continues to be sacrificed at the Alter of The Almighty Dollar?
The fact that I mistakenly assumed the Attorney General must have been consulted before the charges were allowed to proceed against me is a reflection of just how unbelievable and iniquitous the proceedings are.
To recap the situation, I was the victim of a terrifying assault. The ordeal took place when I went to Jaws Beach, in my capacity as attorney for and member of for Save The Bays, to inspect the unregulated development Keod Smith and his workers were carrying out.
Keod Smith incited the men to surround and terrify me whilst he shouted threats like “This is my beach. I say when you can leave.” During the ordeal, my back window was smashed in – video footage of Keod retrieving the weapon so as to conceal the evidence with incriminating finger prints was widely viewed after being published on The Tribune’s website.
Astoundingly, an evidentially unsustainable complaint against me for allegedly intentionally causing harm to one of his workers as I tried to escape the scene, fearing for my life, has been allowed to proceed.
In addition, the serious and legitimate criminal complaint made by me against Keod Smith has been mishandled.
Astoundingly there has been no communication by the Police with me as to what he has been charged with, if I am to be a witness, and when is the trial date.
I call on the Attorney General to pay attention to my serious complaint to ensure that it is handled properly and responsibly.
This would go a long way in demonstrating that she is fulfilling her Constitutional functions.
Beyond that, I call on the Attorney General to take her duties seriously and pay attention to the following additional matters:
- Pay attention to the illegal activities that Save The Bays has complained about at Nygard Cay.
- Defend the action brought by Nygard against her claiming he is the owner, by accretion of 3.5 acres of Crown land worth $20 Million dollars.
- If there is nothing to hide, disclose of all the communications between Nygard and the Government.
- What deal has been struck between the Government and Nygard?
- What is there to hide?
- Come clean with the Bahamian People!!
- What is the relationship between the Government and Nygard?
- Why has Mr. Nygard, a billionaire, not paid his $3 million dollar tax bill at Lyford Cay?
- Why has the Government not sued him to collect these much needed taxes to be used to fund educating our school children?
- Why has the Attorney General not applied to set aside the default judgment Mr. Nygard and Keod Smith improperly obtained against the Government in Nygard’s Crown Land Claim?
- Why is the government doing nothing to get back Crown land worth $20 Million dollars.
- Why not pass a Freedom of Information Act?
- Why did the PLP withdraw such Bill from Parliament?
- How much money did Nygard give the PLP? When and for what?
This can be easily disclosed by the Prime Minister; he does not have to wait for Election Campaign Financing Reform laws to initiate democratic conventions of transparency and accountability to tell the Bahamian public exactly how much Nygard has donated to the PLP or individual candidates.
Those are the matters that a dispassionate and independent Attorney General should be dealing with.
I invite her to focus on the important issues that the public want answers to.
In conclusion, I accept that the Attorney General is telling the truth when she says she was not personally consulted, and in the circumstances I proffer my full apologies to her if my public utterances conveyed the impression that she was personally victimising me.
Of course I did not mean that!
The fact remains however that the Office of the Attorney General remains constitutionally responsible for this malicious criminal prosecution of me.
I was merely investigating evidence of wrong doing in a high profile case mounted against the Government which she has the Constitutional Responsibility to advise, as she likewise has for all criminal prosecutions including the one mounted against me!