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Allow the judicial system to decide

Published: Jul 14, 2017

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Former Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett was yesterday remanded to prison after being charged with bribery, extortion and misconduct in public office. Dorsett was a minister and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) MP for Southern Shores from 2012 to 2017. He lost his seat in the May 10 general election.

It was striking to see a former member of Cabinet walking to court escorted by police while handcuffed. Dorsett had a somber look on his face.

He 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.

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 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 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.

While he elected 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 of the matters tried in the Supreme Court, because the bribery charges cannot be heard before a magistrate.

The Nassau Guardian understands that the former minister will appear before a Supreme Court judge today for a bail hearing.

While there is great public interest in this matter, it is important that the court be allowed to do its work. The Crown has uttered charges. It will have to present evidence to prove the allegations. The men and women of the jury will make their determination of guilt or innocence based on the evidence — assuming this goes to trial.

In the social media age, people are speculating on this case in a frenzied manner. Relax. Follow the court proceedings in the conventional media. Otherwise you’ll fill your heads with the nonsense people post and forward.

In time at trial you’ll hear the details of the Crown’s case and all that is alleged. Dorsett will have the opportunity to mount a defense.

While there are strong feelings across the country regarding what is alleged, in our system Dorsett is presumed innocent until a court says otherwise after a fair trial. Let’s let justice take its course.


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