PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos, Tuesday October 21, 2014, CMC – The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Court of Appeal Monday granted permission for several government ministers including former premier Michael Misick to take their concerns to the London-based Privy Council.
The former ministers, who are facing allegations of corruption allegedly committed during Misick’s tenure as head of government, had challenged the impartiality and independence of Jamaican judge Paul Harrison who was selected to hear the case in the TCI.
The accused are also arguing whether their rights to a fair trial are being infringed by Justice Harrison.
There have been questions as to whether the Jamaican-born jurist would be independent or impartial because of the terms and conditions under which he was hired.
Harrison was appointed as the judge for the corruption trials during the Interim Administration when London imposed direct rule on the British dependent territory and following a probe by a one-man Commission.
Last week, Misick welcomed the not guilty verdict on corruption charges against former Cayman Islands premier McKeeva Bush, saying Britain had been on a campaign to tarnish the “good name” of the islands.
Misick told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that London had been on a “crusade to tarnish the good name of leading politicians in Brutish Overseas Territories like what they tried to do to Mr. Bush and myself…”
The seven member earlier this month found Bush not guilty on all related charges of charges of corruption.
Bush was charged with 11 counts of misconduct in public office and breach of the public’s trust. The prosecution had alleged he spent nearly US$50,000 of public money by gambling at slot machines in the United States and the Bahamas between 2009 and 2010.
Meanwhile, several high-profile British lawyers, including Misick’s lead defense counsel, Courtenay Griffiths, have indicated that they will boycott a preliminary hearing before Justice Harrison on Tuesday.
Lead prosecutor Andrew Mitchell and special prosecutor Helen Garlick joined some of the defense lawyers in trying to persuade Justice Mottley to put the case on hold because of the appeal against Harrison.
However, according to Mottley, a single Court of Appeal judge has no jurisdiction to grant a stay of proceedings pending appeals to the Privy Council.