Critics tear into ‘corrupt’ country, prosecution, and defence following dismissal of ‘passport case’

Residents continue to express their feelings about Tuesday’s High
Court decision to dismiss the case against Superintendent of Police
Ray John and his co-accused, Shakema Charles, who were tried for
offences involving the creation of fake Antigua and Barbuda

John’s and Charles’ attorneys had contended that the judge, on his
own, had no jurisdiction to hear two of the indictments against the

The dismissal of the case does not necessarily mean the end of
John’s and Charles’ legal woes, since the matter can be re-filed and
put to trial before a jury which the prosecution has already
indicated it will do.

However, the case would have to be tried before a new judge, who
will have to direct a jury, the judges of the facts, on the law.
In the meantime, many residents are wondering why the
prosecution did not try the case before a jury, in the first place,
while others are asking why the accused selected the judge-alone
Among those weighing in is popular social-media commentator
Audley Phillip, who is questioning the competence of the
prosecution team.
Phillip says that court decisions like this are why many people have
lost confidence in the judicial system.
Other critics are in full agreement, claiming that Antigua and
Barbuda and its judicial system are very corrupt. One man actually
declares that corruption is king in this country.
Others say they always expected the case would be thrown out, in a
society they describe as a cartoon country where the justice system
is a joke.

Opinions have also been expressed that – had the accused been any
person other than a known Labour Party strongman – the case
would not have been quashed and that individual would have been
jailed for a long time.
There is general acceptance that only the poor people suffer the
brunt of the law, while those with close allegiance to the politicians
get away with murder.  
In the meantime, court-watchers note that it took the prosecution
about a month to present its case, which now appears to have been a
total waste of time and money, given the decision by the judge.
Some people are also alleging that the defence attorneys knew that
the judge’s jurisdiction was an issue, but deliberately waited to raise
an objection at the end of the prosecution’s case.

This case is expected to be tried during the next sitting of the
Criminal Assizes. 

But critics are already convinced the attorneys will then claim that –
with all the negative publicity and exposure of the evidence – their
clients cannot get a fair trial.
John and Charles are both facing charges of conspiracy and larceny.