Still no trial date in Elma Campbell fraud case
Embattled Free National Movement (FNM) Cabinet Minister Elma Campbell is still living in legal limbo as she awaits a trial date in her $1.2 million fraud case.
The delay continues to fuel speculation that the judge in the case, Magistrate Samuel McKinney, is intentionally stalling because Campbell is a fellow FNM.
McKinney was spotted at the FNM’s celebratory church service earlier this year, raising questions about a possible conflict of interest and whether a FNM supporter could be expected to remain impartial while presiding over the case of a fellow party member.
There is no other clear reason for the failure to bring the high-profile case to trial as trial dates have been set for other accused individuals who were charged after the former Ambassador to China.
In March 2020, Campbell and her son, Che Chase were charged in the Magistrates Court with $1.2 million fraud.
Prosecutors allege the pair falsely obtained the money from Royal Bank of Canada.
Chase was also charged with possession of a forged document and uttering a forged document.
Prosecutors allege he cashed a forged $1.2 million Ministry of Tourism check that was payable to Campbell Chase Law on September 6, 2019.
The mother and son were also charged with more than a dozen money laundering charges.
It is alleged that they laundered the funds between September 6, 2019 and October 16, 2019 through bank transfers, withdrawals and the purchase of a luxury vehicle.
When they appeared in court in May 2021, their trial was scheduled for September 6-10.
However, when they appeared before Magistrate McKinney on September 6, he said the matter included a number of counsel and witnesses that the court’s current size could not accommodate without violating COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
He then adjourned the matter to December 2, 2021. However, nine months later, there is still no new trial date even though the country has begun to return to a state of normalcy due to low COVID-19 numbers.