The government withdrew its appeal against veteran prosecutor, Cheryl Grant-Bethel yesterday paving the way for her to receive 90 per cent legal costs.
According to well-placed legal sources, Mrs. Grant-Bethel could receive between $1.2 million and $2 million.
“I was very pleased with the decision taken in court to withdraw the appeal,” the veteran prosecutor told the Bahama Journal exclusively yesterday.
“It takes me that much closer to a resolution of this matter and I’m pleased that the Christie administration took this strong and bold step. I’m also looking forward to my competent attorneys being properly remunerated for the work they have done. I feel humbled by the fact that as a citizen, who felt that my rights were aggrieved and trampled on, that I received justice in a record period of time and I thank God for his mercies.”
In the Court of Appeal yesterday, Thomas Evans QC, who represented the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) told the appellate panel that he had been instructed to withdraw the appeal.
Brian Simms QC, who represented former Attorney General John Delaney, agreed.
In July 2010, Grant-Bethel sued the government for sidestepping her for the director of public prosecutions (DPP) post.
The post was instead given to Jamaican attorney, Vinette Graham-Allen, who was brought into the country on contract.
Lead attorney, Wayne Munroe told the media after the brief appeal hearing that this matter was not about the money.
“More importantly what this case was about was a very important post being filled,” he said.
“[On Wednesday] the attorney general said that there are 400 men charged with murder on bail. We are up to 60 plus murders this year yet from the point that we started this case before [Justice Jon] Isaacs the attorney general has not prosecuted any murder case, the DPP that they chose to appoint has not prosecuted any murder case and I’m not aware that any of the deputy DPPs prosecuting any murder cases. It’s a complete failure of leading from the front.”
He said that his client should not have been placed at the Law Reform and Revision Commission office.
“In a time when we are experiencing a serious crime surge, to have the premier prosecutor in The Bahamas in the person of Cheryl Grant-Bethel in law reform and not as DPP is an indictment first on Mr. Ingraham’s government, who began the dumbness and an indictment on Mr. Christie’s government if he lets the dumbness continue,” he explained.
“The price Mr. Christie’s government would pay when blood is being shed all over the street while having a DPP who is unable to prosecute anything is unbelievable. If they stand by a woman who can’t prosecute serious crimes as their chief prosecutor then the price they must be made to pay should ultimately be a political one because it’s their choice. We are in serious trouble in this country.”
Mr. Munroe could not say exactly when his client would be paid.
“There’s a process associated with payment,” he said. “It can be shortened if there’s an agreement or if they insist on it going all the way. We can tax, they can review any tax and they can appeal any review. How long it takes depends on the position that they take.”
Last year, the matter was before the appellate court, and at that time, the government’s attorneys sought to overturn Senior Supreme Court Justice Jon Isaacs’ decision to grant the veteran prosecutor her costs.
While Supreme Court rules allow a judge to use his/her discretion when it comes to awarding costs, Mr. Evans, argued, at that time, that Justice Isaacs more or less strayed from the principles set out in the rules, which guide the use of that discretion.
The appeal hearing was before Justices Abdulleh Conteh, Christopher Blackman and Stanley John.