Categorized | National News

Flowers Cleared in Appeals Court–Court orders more than $800,000 be returned to FML

The Court of Appeal yesterday overturned a 2011 conviction of FML Group of Companies CEO Craig Flowers and ordered that he be returned more than $800,000 seized from his company during a 2009 police raid.

Back on April 28, 2009, police conducted a raid of the FML Web Shop on Wulff Road. The officers armed with a search warrant, entered the establishment and seized a number of items including $834,639.32 in cash and coins.

Mr. Flowers was eventually charged and subsequently convicted on two charges of operating a lottery on his premises.

In 2011, he was fined $5,000 on each charge or he faced two years imprisonment.

The matter was subsequently appealed.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal Justices ruled that the presiding Magistrate (Derence Rolle-Davis) erred in his conviction and seizure of Mr. Flowers’ funds and ordered that the conviction be quashed and the money returned.

“I think this is a victory for my company,” Mr. Flowers said following Wednesday’s decision.

He noted that the prolonged legal battles he has endured over the past six years have handicapped his business and have only served as a distraction.

“I was not able to participate and give to the industry,” Mr. Flowers said. “What I would have loved to do more than anything else is to be able to spend the time and the commitment on the way forward and I was not able to do that.”

At the time of the raid, web shop gaming was still unregulated and otherwise illegal, though the operations were done well in public view and businesses of that kind were growing in numbers and visibility.

“We can’t transition from something that was deemed wrong to something that is now right by just changing the laws,” he said. “We have to disperse the whole notion that at some point in time in our industry we have a responsibility that we remove this stigma by our own personal conduct and that is going to take more time for some than for others.”

In January 2013, the government held an opinion poll asking Bahamians whether they favoured regularising web shop gaming and a national lottery. The response was overwhelming against regularising and establishing the lottery, but the Christie administration late last year moved forward with bringing the industry from the shadows.

Mr. Flowers said now that he has been vindicated, he will focus on pushing for more regulation and encouraging operators in the industry to maintain high levels of integrity in their dealings.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook