D.Gisele Isaac, Chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), suspects there was some degree of political interference in the bail proceedings for three people who were arrested and charged in relation to fraud at the Customs Department.
In what a legal source says was an unusual procedure, the Magistrates’ Court was bypassed, and the bail applications were submitted to a High Court judge, reportedly via email, on Carnival Monday, a public holiday.
The accused – Customs Officer Joezine Christian and Customs brokers Rowan Matthew and Foston George – were each granted bail in the sum of $10,000, with no cash deposit, under several conditions.
Isaac is asking what special arrangements were made for the release of the trio over the four-day weekend.
Something appears to be not quite right with how the matter transpired, Isaac says.
She notes that incidents like these bring the justice system into disrepute, prompting persons to question and criticize the legal system, which, many feel, favour those with connections and money.
Meanwhile, Matthew of Judges Hill Estate, George of Pares Village, and Christian of Buckleys have been jointly charged with conspiracy to defraud, an offence that allegedly occurred on November 6, 2017, at the Deep Water Harbour.
Matthew and George are also charged jointly for obtaining money by false pretense.
Christian faces two additional charges – corruption in public office and cheating the public revenue – which also occurred in November 2017.
They will return to court on October 5 for committal proceedings.