Harry Josiah, the former General Manager of the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board is both elated and grateful after High Court Justice Stanley John upheld a no-case submission made on his behalf by attorney Dane Hamilton, QC.
The decision was handed down at 10 a.m. today, March 4.
“Is nought they get!” a jubilant Josiah told REAL News outside the Court. “Nought! Nought!”
He was referring not only to his victory but to the commonly held belief that his prosecution – like several other high-profile cases the government has lost – was politically motivated.
Charged in March 2015 with 24 counts of fraud, Josiah was accused of selling government vehicles without authorization. He was charged with three counts of larceny; three counts of corruption; three counts of obtaining vehicles by virtue of false documents; six counts of forgery; and six counts of uttering.
These offences were alleged to have occurred over a one-year period: from December 2009 to December 2010.
At the time lawmen picked up Josiah, they confiscated furniture during a search of his home and impounded a vehicle.
An investigation was also launched at the Transport Board, where there were alleged irregularities in the management of the statutory body during his tenure.
Eventually, the number of charges against Josiah was reduced to 12; and he, along with his co-accused, Genevieve Phillip, was acquitted of all.
Josiah waited almost seven years to have his day in court and to defend his name and reputation.
The case commenced on Wednesday, February 23, with the lead investigator being called to the stand to give evidence, followed by several other witnesses.
At the end of the prosecution’s case, defence attorney Hamilton tendered a no-case submission to the court on Wednesday, March 2, which the judge considered and subsequently upheld.
While there have been murmurs about appealing the judgment, Hamilton says it is idle talk. He explains that appeals are made on points of law; and given that the case has been found to be without merit, there are no points on which the prosecution can appeal.
Hamilton says he believes the matter was initiated by the current Minister of Social Transformation, Dean Jonas, who, at the time, had oversight of the Transport Board operations.
On hand to congratulate Josiah were former colleague Hudson Joseph, Jr,; current co-worker Chester Hughes; and supporters Senator Shawn Nicholas and Derrick Nicholas.
Two political figures who were similarly persecuted and prosecuted, Harold Lovell and D.Gisele Isaac, the political leader and chairperson of the United Progressive Party, were also present to share in Josiah’s celebration.