A High Court judge in the Turks and Caicos Islands has dismissed the mis-trial application made by the lawyer for former premier Michael Misick who is facing corruption charges. Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne had argued that the prosecution had issued daily releases which had the cumulative effect of scandalising his client, portraying him contemptuously and ultimately depriving him of the right to a fair trial that is guaranteed by the Constitution and by the Human Rights conventions.
The Barbadian attorney and Malcolm Bishop, QC, who is representing the former premier’s brother, Chal Misick, had asked the court to declare a mis-trial on the grounds that extra-juridical publications, emanating from the prosecution and from a corporate entity connected to the evidence, Sandals Resorts International/Beaches Resorts, were capable of undermining the independence of the judiciary and the dignity of the process of trial.
But Justice Paul Harrison disagreed. “As the trial of fact in this case, I am obliged, and have a duty, to disabuse my mind from anything said or published outside of the ambit of court proceedings. I am also compelled not to take into consideration anything said outside the evidence in this case,” he said. The judge also denied a motion filed by Queen’s Counsel Earl Witter, on behalf of former deputy premier Floyd Hall who is also on trial, asking for a contempt of court order to be made against the author of the Sandals press release.
Misick and other former government ministers and their associates are facing charges of conspiracy to accept bribes in public office, conspiracy to defraud and associated money laundering, brought by a special investigative team set up in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2011.