Categorized | National News

Web Shops Trial Won’t Happen This Year

It’s unlikely that the government and web shop owners will head to court this year for a legal battle to determine whether or not the web shop operations are legal.

Attorney for the several web shops Wayne Munroe explained what’s tying up the case in the Supreme Court.

“The issue is that we required a two and a half month extension to file our statement of claim. I wouldn’t be surprised if they required time to file their defence. They may even make request for us for discovery before filing their defence. Once we get their defence, we will look at it and see if we are required to put in a reply, which is yet another document that you put before the courts,” Mr. Munroe said.

“From there it goes to case management, where the courts will give direction about the discovery of documents, inspection of documents. And depending on whether those applications are contested or not and they require a hearing in those matters. So the likelihood of you being able to accomplish all of that and being given a date within this year is very slim.”

Mr. Munroe represents Island Game, Island Luck, FML, Asue Draw, Whattfall and Chances.

The web shops are trying to get the court to declare that their businesses don’t fall within the premise of the Lotteries and Gaming Act, which prohibits Bahamians from gambling.

“We are now satisfied that the police not only by their words but actions intend to respect the separation and properly do their jobs,” he said.

“The web shops are like every other litigant in the process. It used to be in the past that you couldn’t expect to come to trial in about three years. But now it is much swifter. The clients know that there is a process and the process requires a lot of attention. This is not a petty matter or a small matter that’s being done in a magistrate’s court. It is a serious matter with a lot of documents and so by the time you get to court. You will have a bundle of documents, pleading, the issues would have been defined witness’ statement and that limits the amount of time the trial would take.”

In January, Bahamians overwhelmingly rejected the idea of the government regulating web shops, which are said to facilitate online gaming.
Bahamians also said no to establishing a national lottery.

Soon after, Prime Minister Perry Christie ordered the shutdown of all web shops.

However, the web shops were able to get a conservatory order to stop the closure of the web shops.

Months later, Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett lifted the order. The case was then taken to the Court of Appeal who stayed Sir Michael’s ruling.

The web shops then dropped their appeal.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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