ANTIGUA | DPP's fate awaits decision of Judicial and Legal Services Commission

ANTIGUA | DPP's fate awaits decision of Judicial and Legal Services Commission

ST JOHN’S Antigua, Nov 18, 2022 - Antigua and Barbuda’s Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Armstrong continues to fight his legal battles in Jamaica, there is uncertainty as to whether he will retain the post if he beats the fraud charges proferred against him.

Antigua’s  Information Minister Melford Nicholas told a post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday, that the government is awaiting a decision from the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) based in St Lucia as to his fate.

“Once they have looked at this matter, they may make a determination that he may be suitable to hold the position, so we are awaiting the outcome of that deliberation at this point in time,” Nicholas said.

The JLSC is the institution under the Antigua and Barbuda Constitution Order – Section 87— which is tasked with exercising disciplinary control over legal officers within its jurisdiction.

Leader of the main opposition UPP party, Harold Lovell wants Armstrong to resign.Leader of the main opposition UPP party, Harold Lovell wants Armstrong to resign.Armstrong, who is a Jamaican, was arrested earlier this month on charges relating to his involvement in a questionable sale of three properties owned by a former client approximately 20 years ago. He is facing a string of fraud charges.

Since news of his current legal battles broke, calls for Armstrong to resign from the DPP post have been made, the most recent coming from the leader of the main opposition party, Harold Lovell.

Senior Crown Counsel Shannon Jones-Gittens is currently acting in the position as the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP.

As the  fraud proceedings against Armstrong continued before a Jamaica court on Wednesday, Armstrong’s attorney, Hugh Wildman, contended that his client was not the person who sold the properties.

Wildman urged the court to immediately stay the charges contending that the police’s own handwriting expert has vindicated his client. He said on Wednesday that the handwriting expert in a statement had fingered the complainant’s cousin, Shelley Peart-Campbell, who is Armstrong’s co-accused, as the person whose handwriting appears on the transfer documents for the three properties Armstrong is accused of selling.

During submissions before Parish Judge Venice Blackstock-Murray on Wednesday, Wildman contended that the police did not carry out a proper investigation and should be held accountable.

“This is a kangaroo case and a classic case of abuse of process,” he said. “The police handwriting witness says is not Mr Armstrong, is Shelley. This is really a wicked act against Mr Armstrong.”

While emphasising that the judge has the jurisdiction to stay the proceedings, Wildman said there was an abuse of process based on the principles of delay, prosecutorial misconduct, and lack of evidence in the case.

He pointed to the Privy Council case involving Winston Warren in which the court ruled that where criminal or civil proceedings are brought after six years after the alleged offence, the proceeding is an abuse of process and must be stayed.

Armstrong will next appear in court on December 5.

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