NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Former PLP Cabinet Minister Shane Gibson is suing the government alleging ‘malicious prosecution’ and ‘false imprisonment’, having been acquitted of multiple counts of bribery last November.
According to documents obtained by Eyewitness News, Gibson has also written to the Bahamas Bar Association, the Police Service Commission and Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, seeking disciplinary proceedings for Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson, Director of Public Prosecutions Garvin Gaskin and Assistant Superintendent of Police Debra Thompson, who he has accused misconduct in his prosecution.
Gibson’s attorneys have filed the lawsuit against the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Assistant Superintendent of Police Debra Thompson and contractor Jonathan Ash, a key prosecution witness in his trial before Justice Carolita Bethel.
Gibson is seeking damages for false imprisonment on August, 2, 2017 and August,3, 2017; ‘damages for malicious prosecution arising out of multiple charges of extortion, bribery, misconduct in public office laid maliciously and without reasonable or probable cause”, as well as aggravated damages and exemplary damages.
Gibson, the former Golden Gates had been accused of soliciting and accepting more than $200,000 in bribes from Ash for expediting payments the contractor was owed for work done following the cleanup efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Gibson had ministerial responsibility for the cleanup and relief efforts following the storm.
In a letter to the chairman of the Police Service Commission as well as Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, Mr Gibson called for action against Commissioner Ferguson and ASP Debra Thompson.
Gibson noted that ASP Thompson had testified that under the supervision of the Commissioner, she “held and illegal conference between Jonathan Ash and Debbie Bastian (who had been a consultant with the National Health Insurance Secretariat) and their respective attorneys to remove differences from their respective accounts of factual matters intended to adduced in evidence in the said trial”.
ASP Thompson had admitted during the trial that she made “minor changes” to Ash’s statements and said it was a common practice to hold witness conferences.
In a letter to the Bar Association, Gibson cited the rules of the association’s code of ethics and asked for disciplinary action to be taken against Gaskin.
He claimed that in the course of the proceedings it became evident that “Garvin Gaskin participated in the gathering of evidence and the concealment of malpractices of the Royal Bahamas Police Force”.
Gibson added: “In witness coaching and the holding of of a conference between witnesses who had different recollections of material events so as to cause the said witnesses to change their statements.”