Categorized | National News

Web Shop Appeal Set For Next Week

Lawyers for web shop owners will be back in court next week as they continue their efforts to have Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett’s ruling overturned.

Last month, Sir Michael lifted an injunction that prevented police officers from shutting down those operations.

Even though the chief justice lifted that injunction, web shops have nonetheless remained open.

Police officers, however, have shut down two of those establishments in eastern New Providence.

On Thursday, Wayne Munroe, the attorney for several web shop owners, said overall he is pleased with the police’s conduct despite repeated calls from gaming opponents to shut the operations down.

Mr. Munroe explained that he initially expected that he would have had to make the argument to the court that police had been targeting the web shops, but he said their actions to this point, have been just the opposite.

“That’s the greatest problem that I have preparing for Friday – that the police have shown all along the way that they are acting properly even though mischief makers keep trying to get them to act improperly they continue to act properly,” he said.

On Monday, police officers shut down Bahama Dreams, a web shop, and arrested five people – three women and two men.

At the time Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Leon Bethel said the web shop was shut down because it did not have a valid business licence.

The Double Ds Restaurant was also shut down during those operations for failing to have a valid licence and for selling alcohol without a licence.

ACP Bethel said web shops will not be shut down unless it is proven that there is illegal activity going on at those places.

“As you are aware, web shops are legal,” he said. We have to be able to determine that there is a breach of that licence by using their web shops for illegal means and that is why we are checking some of these places now.”

During a those operations Monday, officers visited the Island Luck web café, where some of the computer screens showed images of spinning games.

“We cannot just go and arbitrarily arrest someone just because they have a screen opened up to a spinning wheel saying ‘game’ on it, says ACP Bethel. “The responsibility of police as investigators is a little greater than that. We have a duty to the court system and a duty to the members of the public that we interact with, so we must be fair to everybody.”

The matter will be heard at the Court of Appeal next Friday.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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