NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government has filed its application for permission to appeal Frank Smith’s acquittal at the Privy Council.
The notice was filed October 16, and asks the council’s Judicial Committee to set aside the Court of Appeal order, which upheld the Supreme Court’s dismissal of bribery and extortion charges against the former senator.
Peter Knox, QC, will represent the appellant, Commissioner of Police; and Damian Gomez, QC, will represent Smith.
In a statement yesterday, Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell accused the government of secretly filing its Privy Council appeal of the acquittal of former Senator Frank Smith.
The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed the government’s application for the former PLP senator to be retried on bribery and extortion allegations earlier this year.
“The Government without making a formal announcement to the Bahamian public filed directly with the Privy Council an application for leave to appeal the acquittal of former Senator Frank Smith,” Mitchell said.
“In doing so, they have let go of the first QC who was unable to secure a conviction and have now hired yet another high priced QC named Peter Knox.”
Mitchell continued: “They have not disclosed how much the previous Q C cost the Bahamian taxpayers and they have not disclosed how much the new one will cost. Our information is that the going rate is at a minimum of $20,000 per day.
“In appealing to the Privy Council, they have to get over the law which says that the decision of the Court of Appeal is final. The decision therefore appears to many as a persecution of Frank Smith by the FNM in pursuit of victor’s justice.”
Mitchell added: “Imagine that the person they now have before the courts did not have the resources to fight this. This does not speak well of the Bahamian prosecutors as ministers of justice.”
“We need answers from the government on the facts. No secrets should exist on this matter by this Government.”