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Munroe sees silver lining in police action on web shops

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: May 15, 2013

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After police conducted a search of several web shops in the East Bay Street area on Monday, attorney Wayne Munroe, who represents a group of web shop bosses, said yesterday that although his clients were annoyed by the action, it proved that police are not going to interfere with their operations while it is before the court.

“The one thing it does show is that legitimate business is carried on in web shops,” he pointed out.

Munroe said while the search may have negatively impacted his clients’ business, “it satisfied that you don’t have drug dealing or illicit activity happening in these places”.

He represents Percy Web Cafe, Island Luck, FML Group of Companies, Asue Draw, Whatfall and Chances.

Police shut down two businesses during the search, Double D’s Restaurant and Bahama Dreams on Okra Hill, for allegedly operating without a business license.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Bethell said police are not going to arrest anyone arbitrarily, adding that they are investigating and compiling evidence.

Munroe said, “I think the commissioner and his officers are doing the sensible thing in not usurping the power of the court.  I think that’s the proper exercise of their function.

“In fact, bearing in mind what has happened I will have to consider whether there is any basis for me to continue with the appeal of the chief justice’s refusal to grant an injunction because if the commissioner of police is going to demonstrate that he is not going to, by his action and by his officer’s action, usurp the powers of the court I really have nothing to fear about them not abiding the outcome of the litigation.”

The Court of Appeal on April 17 rejected a bid by attorney Alfred Sears and Munroe to stay a ruling delivered by Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett.

Sir Michael lifted a conservatory order that prevented web shops from being subjected to police interference.

The lawyers secured the conservatory order on January 30, two days after a gambling referendum failed.

Following the referendum, Prime Minister Perry Christie ordered that all web shop gaming cease.

The substantive case is expected to be heard on May 24.

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