NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Attorney General Carl Bethel on Tuesday dodged questions about government’s assertion that the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will be appealing magistrate Ambrose Armbrister’s decision to allow three of six persons to walk free in the highly controversial Michelle Reckley money laundering and fraud case.
Magistrate Armbrister’s decision last week Friday sent tongues wagging as he argued with the Crown that the DPP took too long to file money laundering charges against the group.
According to the magistrate, the DPP only had a 6-month window to file the charges, and due to their failure to do so, all 22 money laundering charges were dropped.
Government, via a press statement over the weekend, indicated that it understood that the office of the DPP would be appealing that decision.
Eyewitness News Online attempted today to garner attorney general Carl Bethel’s input on the matter. But Bethel, while refusing to comment on the matter, confirmed that the saga will run its course before the court.
“No, I don’t speak about matters that are before the courts,” he asserted. “The DPP has made a statement, it stands by itself and I have nothing to add or detract from it.”
Government’s press statement on Saturday indicated that magistrate Ambrister made a grave error in his judicial ruling and that the DPP would appeal the matter before the Court of Appeal.
“The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, wishes to assure the Bahamian Public that the magistrate who discharged certain co-accused persons from certain Money Laundering Charges, in its view, made serious and grave errors in Law, the statement said.
“The law provides that an indictable offence has no statutory time limitation as set forth in section 213(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code Act (CPC).
“Money Laundering is an indictable offence.”
The statement continued, “in 2017, the CPC was amended to make it absolutely clear that an indictable offence is ‘any offence which is triable on information before the Supreme Court’, as per section 2 thereof.”
“The Crown has filed an appeal of the presiding Magistrate’s decision based on, among other things, an erroneous application of the law. The Prosecutors are also requesting that The Court of Appeal hear the Appeal at the earliest possible opportunity.”