Hundreds of court cases could be reheard
A landmark case is currently before the Supreme Court that could result in the rehearing of hundreds of court cases as the defendants’ voluntary bills of indictment were signed by two African prosecutors in the Department of Public Prosecutions who were rejected by the Bahamas Bar Association.
A noted attorney appeared before Supreme Court Justice Deborah Fraser this week to challenge the validity of his client’s VBI.
Submissions were made on Friday.
Attorney David Cash argues that Ugandan David Bakininga broke the law when he purportedly signed the VBI for a Haitian man accused of statutory rape.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code, only the Attorney General or a legal practitioner acting on his behalf can sign VBIs.
But Bakibinga isn’t a legal practitioner, as he’s been denied the right to practice by the Bahamas Bar Association.
As a result, Cash argues that the VBI is invalid.
A victory for Cash could be a nightmare for the judicial system as Bakibinga and Nigerian Deputy DPP Nkiruka Jones-Nebo have signed hundreds of VBIs, although they are not recognized legal practitioners.
Cash has made it clear that if Fraser does not rule in his favor, he will take this matter as high as the Privy Council if he has to.
To make matters worse, the Attorney General in his arrogance, has renewed the contracts of the two African prosecutors even though they cannot go to court on the government’s behalf or legally sign VBIs.
During the worst economic downturns in modern history, the government is wasting taxpayer funds on the massive salaries of two foreign lawyers not recognized by the Bahamas Bar.
The decision to hire the Africans in 2019 over qualified Bahamians sparked a wave of resignations and transfers from the Office of the DPP, resulting in a serious manpower shortage.
The Africans each earn over $100,000 with perks, but Bahamian prosecutors have been unable to get promotions or raises.