Shane Gibson found not guilty in bribery trial

Shane Gibson found not guilty in bribery trial
Former Cabinet minister Shane Gibson following the jury's not guilty verdict.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A nine-member jury has found former Cabinet minister Shane Gibson not guilty on all 15 counts of bribery brought against him.

Supreme Court Justice Carolita Bethel handed the case over to the jurors to render their verdict around 3:20 pm after providing them an extensive summation of the both the crown’s and defense’s case.

Gibson, 58, has been accused of receiving more than $250,000 from contractor Jonathan Ash to speed up around $1 million in payments the government owed to the contractor for cleanup work in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

The judge advised jurors to judge the case of the evidence, reminding them that it is their sole responsibility to decide what the facts are and reach a fair verdict.

She told jurors the burden of proof rests solely on the shoulders of the prosecutors, and if they believe the crown has satisfied that burden of proof based on the evidence, it is their sworn duty to convict.

However, Bethel said if after examining the evidence in its entirety, jurors are left with a reasonable doubt the prosecution would not have established the burden of proof.

She also advised jurors that it was not for the accused to satisfy them of his innocence, and it was within his right to elect to remain silent as oppose to taking the stand.

“You must not assume guilt because he has not gone into the witness box as the burden is always on the crown,” Bethel said.