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Updated: Privy Council Refuses Attempt To Appeal Frank Smith Acquittal

Frank Smith outside court previously.

Frank Smith outside court previously.

THE Privy Council has refused the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution's attempt to appeal Frank Smith's acquittal. 

The former Public Hospital Authority Chairman was acquitted of bribery charges last year. 

The clerk of the Privy Council wrote in a statement: "Having considered an application for permission to appeal from the judgement of the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas dated 28th Agust 2019 in the matter between Commissioner of Police (Appellant) vs Frank Smith (Respondent) and having considered written submissions from the parties, we have agreed to report to Your Majesty as our opinion that permission to appeal should be refused because there is no risk that a serious miscarriage of justice has occurred in this case."

UPDATE: THE Privy Council has rejected the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution’s bid to appeal the acquittal of former Public Hospitals Authority chairman Frank Smith of bribery charges.

A Privy Council clerk wrote in a statement: “Having considered an application for permission to appeal from the judgement of the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas dated 28th August 2019 in the matter between Commissioner of Police (appellant) vs Frank Smith (respondent) and having considered written submissions from the parties, we have agreed to report to Your Majesty as our opinion that permission to appeal should be refused because there is no risk that a serious miscarriage of justice has occurred in this case.”

The ruling comes months after Mr Smith took the first steps toward suing the government for malicious prosecution, filing a writ in the Supreme Court.

The Office of the DPP argued that between April 2016 and April 2017, Mr Smith demanded and obtained $5,000 per month from Barbara Hanna and attempted to extort another $5,000 from her in May 2017 in respect of his duties as a public officer.

However, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt acquitted Mr Smith of 15 criminal charges in February 2019.

She said there were numerous inconsistencies and discrepancies in the prosecution’s case and that the crown’s witnesses further undermined the case.

She said Mrs Hanna’s evidence contained “inherent inconsistencies” and were “manifestly unreliable,” running contrary to “reason and all common sense.”

She also criticised Health Minister Dr Duane Sands and National Security Minister Marvin Dames for the “egregious” way in which they interacted with Mrs Hanna before the police investigated her claims, saying their conduct gave the appearance of a “political flavour to a curious bystander.”

In August, after the prosecution appealed that ruling, the Court of Appeal ruled that the prosecution’s case was unsustainable and failed to show what was clearly wrong with the chief magistrate’s ruling.

Yesterday, PLP Leader Philip “Brave” Davis said Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has a decision to make with respect to Dr Sands and Mr Dames.

“Both at the first instance in the Magistrate’s Court and at the Court of Appeal, the conduct of two of his ministers was judicially condemned,” he said in a statement.

“We have previously asked for their resignations and if they failed to do so, we asked for their dismissal.

“The eyes of the public must also be on the attorney general, Senator Carl Bethel, who allowed this case to go forward when he must have known the state of the evidence. It gives rise to the charge of a malicious prosecution.

“The state has wasted millions of public dollars. The costs of bringing foreign counsel and other costs have not been handled in a transparent way. There has been no accountability for the conduct of the state and the entire effort against former Senator Smith and former Minister Shane Gibson has ended in abject and complete failure.”

A jury acquitted Mr Gibson in a separate bribery trial last year.

“I am saddened by the fact that while justice has been served in this case, what of other people in our system who do not have the resources to take the fight all the way to the Privy Council? “This strengthens my resolve that one day God willing as prime minister, I will do my utmost to help the poor and the dispossessed. I make that pledge today,” Mr Davis said.

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