NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis may be called as a defense witness in the Shane Gibson corruption trial, which is scheduled to begin in September, the court heard on Tuesday.
During a case management hearing held on Tuesday before Supreme Court Justice Carolita Bethel, Gibson’s lawyer, Owen Wells, put Justice Bethel on notice that the defense may need her to issue a subpoena for the prime minister to appear as the Attorney General’s Office was fighting their request to make Dr Minnis available for trial.
However, Justice Bethel said she would only consider issuing a subpoena for the sitting prime minister if there was sufficient evidence that Dr Minnis would assist the defense’s case.
Bethel told the justice the defense believes the prime minister has vital information that will assist in Gibson’s case. Justice Bethel said if it comes to that, she will hear the arguments during the pre-trial hearing.
The Crown is being represented by James Guthrie, QC, who appeared via a video conference call and Terry Archer from the Attorney General’s Office.
Gibson will return to court on July 4thfor another case management hearing ahead of the September 23rd trial. At that time, a disclosure matter as well as a possible change of lead council for Gibson is expected to be addressed.
Gibson’s bail was also extended.
Gibson, a former minister of labour and national insurance was charged on August 3rd, 2017 with two counts of conspiracy to commit extortion, two counts of conspiracy to commit bribery, 15 counts of extortion, 16 counts of bribery and one count of misconduct in public office.
However, in May 2018, Gibson’s indictment was amended and he now faces just 15 counts of bribery and is accused of allegedly receiving $610,000 dollars from contractor Jonathan Ash.
Last year,Justice Indra Charles, who recently recused herself from the trail, forbid the press as well as members of the public from discussing the ongoing bribery case however, it has been lifted.