In a startling development, Assistant to the Chief Magistrate, Subusola Lawanson-Swain, has lodged a formal complaint against former Minister of Immigration, Elsworth Johnson. The complaint outlines a series of alleged breaches, including accusations of corrupting the court process, intentionally misleading the Chief Justice, and leaking private court matters to an online news site.
Among the serious allegations detailed in the complaint is Johnson's purported behavior during court proceedings. Swain contends that Johnson sought "special treatment" for clients who allegedly used racial slurs against the police and other black Bahamians.
The complaint suggests that Johnson, dissatisfied with the case's outcome, approached another Magistrate to secure a favorable result for his clients, bypassing established appeals procedures and, in Swain's words, "corrupting the court process."
The complaint also sheds light on Johnson's alleged attempts to influence sentencing outcomes. Swain accuses him of deliberately misleading the Chief Justice in a complaint letter related to a domestic incident, emphasizing his failure to report the full extent of violence involved in the dispute. She argues that Johnson's actions indicate “a lack of respect for the tradition of mutual respect between the Bench and the Bar”.
Furthermore, the complaint alleges Johnson's involvement in leaked court information appearing on online news site, Bahamas Press. It alleges that Johnson had knowledge of private court matters and even published a letter to the Chief Justice, which the Chief Justice claims not to have seen before its appearance on Bahamas Press.
These accusations, if substantiated, could have serious repercussions for Johnson, who is a former Free National Movement MP and has held prominent positions in the Bar Association, the House of Assembly, and the Cabinet.
Johnson served as Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration under the Minnis Administration from 2017 to 2021 until the party was ejected from office in a snap election.
During that period, Johnson was the member of parliament for Yamacraw.
The legal community and the public will be closely watching the developments as the complaint moves through the appropriate channels.