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Dorsett remanded

Bail hearing expected today
  • Police officers escort former Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett (center) into court yesterday. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

  • Wayne Munroe, Q.C, attorney for former government Minister Kenred Dorsett, addresses the media outside the Magistrates’ Courts yesterday. Progressive Liberal Party Trustee Valentine Grimes (left) was also present during the court proceeding.

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Jul 14, 2017

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Former Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett, whose party was swept out of office amidst allegations of corruption, was yesterday remanded to prison after being charged with bribery, extortion and misconduct in public office.

Dorsett, 46, who served in the Christie Cabinet from 2012 to 2017, appeared before Magistrate Samuel McKinney facing nine charges related to allegations that he received $120,000 from Johnathan Ash, who had a government contract at the New Providence Landfill.

Dorsett was escorted into court by police officers with his hands cuffed behind him.

His wife and other relatives were in the public gallery to lend their support.

The magistrate admonished Dorsett to “stand properly” during the arraignment.

In relation to the four extortion charges, prosecutors allege that Dorsett, while acting in his capacity as a public officer, demanded a total of $120,000 from Ash on four separate occasions between March 1, 2017 and May 9, 2017, the eve of the general election that removed the PLP from the government.

As for the bribery charges, Dorsett is accused of soliciting a total of $120,000 from Ash so that he would not exercise his power as minister of the environment to stop Ash from working at the sanitary landfill. The bribery offenses were also allegedly committed between March 1, and May 9, 2017.

Dorsett’s attorney, Wayne Munroe, QC, said the bribery and extortion charges were an abuse of process, as the charges were based on allegations of the “exact same behavior”.

Dorsett was also charged with misconduct in public office.

It is alleged that between March 1, 2017 and May 9, 2017, while acting as a public officer, Dorsett willfully misconducted himself without reasonable excuse or justification.

The misconduct charge was not brought by any section of the Penal Code. According to the charge sheet, it was a violation of the common law, which is derived from judicial precedent.

Munroe said, “This is not a count known to our law. Misconduct in public office is a tort. We do not concede that there is an offense known as misconduct in public office.

“Even if it is known, the Crown will have to decide whether it is triable summarily, [before a magistrate], indictably [in the Supreme Court], or triable either way.”

While Dorsett did elect a summary trial on the extortion charges, which can be heard either in the Supreme Court or Magistrates’ Court, the magistrate exercised his discretion under section 214 of the Criminal Procedure Code to have all the matters tried in the Supreme Court, because the bribery charge cannot be heard before a magistrate.

McKinney advised Dorsett that he lacked the jurisdiction to grant bail and remanded him to custody. The Nassau Guardian understands that Dorsett will appear before a Supreme Court judge today for a bail hearing.

Munroe also lodged a formal complaint of police “unlawfully detaining” three cell phones that belonged to Dorsett without a “warrant for their seizure or search”.

Inspector Philip Davis prosecuted.

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