FNM: DPP will appeal Magistrate’s decision

FNM: DPP will appeal Magistrate’s decision
Former Urban Renewal Deputy Director Michelle Reckley and three other defendants, who police accused of money laundering and fraud, were brought before the court yesterday. (Photo by Royston Jones Jr.)

The Free National Movement (FNM) announced Friday that it understands that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will appeal Magistrate Ambrose Armbrister’s decision to dismiss three persons of money laundering charges in the Michelle Reckley case.

The announcement came via a press statement issued on Friday night.

“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 goes on to state, “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 FNM asserted that money laundering is an indictable offence because it is triable on information before the Supreme Court.

“The time limit of six months to lay charges before a magistrate’s court is only applicable to a strictly summary offence,” the statement said.

“It so happens that Money Laundering is an indictable offence which may also be tried in the magistrate’s court, by a decision of the Crown, as provided for in section 58(8) of the CPC. The Crown elected to have the indictable matter tried summarily.

“Further, it is the Crown’s view that the Magistrate erred in failing to find that Section 20 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Act allows charges to be brought under a repealed Act in the circumstances provided for in the Interpretation and General Clauses Act.”

The FNM said the Crown has filed an appeal of the presiding Magistrate’s decision based on “an erroneous application of the law.”

The governing party said the prosecutors are also requesting that The Court of Appeal hear the Appeal at the earliest possible opportunity.