Court makes admission of error in Harry Josiah case

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

In a seldom heard instance, a High Court Justice has acknowledged that he erred in handing down a decision.

Following Justice Stanley John’s favourable 4th March decision in respect of the No Case submission filed in the Harry Josiah corruption and fraud trial, the written judgement, made public on Wednesday substantiated the Director of Public Prosecution’s notice of appeal filed with the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.

The learned Justice John, who served his last day on the bench Wednesday, said in his written decision, “In light of the evidence relating to counts 1, 2 and 3, and upon further analysis of same, the court is now of the view that it fell into error in upholding the no case submission in respect of counts 1, 2 and 3”.

One of the counts referred to in the judgement relates to corruption in relation to a Toyota Corolla while the other two relate to forgery in respect of the same vehicle. Pointe Xpress spoke with seasoned barristers who all indicated that an admission of this sort by a sitting judge is exceedingly rare.

On 4th March, Justice John ruled on a No Case submission entered by Harry Josiah’s legal team led by Queen’s Counsel Dane Hamilton Sr. that the Crown had not established their case against his client. The learned justice at the time agreed stating he was not “satisfied that the Crown discharged that burden and placed before me evidence upon which I can reasonably act.”

The prosecution, led by contracted Attorney Andrew Okolo, immediately expressed their intention to appeal the judge’s decision. This abruptly cuts short Josiah’s celebration rally, which went as far as the political platform of the opposition United Progressive Party.

Josiah and his attorney, QC Hamilton Sr., have both openly stated that they believed that his prosecution was politically motivated. Prime Minister Gaston Browne has vehemently denied this, however, he said following Josiah’s short-lived acquittal, that former chairman of the Antigua Barbuda Transport Board, Dean Jonas engineered the chain of events that led to the police investigation, which resulted in Josiah being charged with crimes under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Forgery Act.

Prime Minister Browne said back in 2014, when Josiah’s legal troubles began, his Cabinet was unaware of the investigation and did not lend its support. He added that Sir Robin Yearwood, who was minister with portfolio responsibility for the Antigua Barbuda Transport Board at the time, was also unaware of the actions of former chairman Jonas.

With these new and intriguing developments, one thing is clear; the former Antigua Barbuda Transport Board general manager’s seven-year-long legal battle is far from over as he must now ready himself – and his pockets – for round two of this saga, which Pointe Xpress’ legal advisors say could take several years more to conclude. — POINTEXPRESS

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