The last two days have seen an interesting case involving the son of a sitting MP and current Minister of Health, Trevor Moniz, being charged with possession of 2 grams of marijuana and a grinder.
From the outset, I don’t think Mr Moniz’s son should have been charged – to me the amount of drugs was too small to warrant arrest, being obviously for personal use, and, at best, I think taxpayers money would have been better served with issuing a caution.
Of course though, I don’t have all the details – perhaps there were more circumstances to the case and previous cautions. I don’t know. But two grams of marijuana, to me, well, it just doesn’t seem worthy of prosecution.
Nor did I think it was worthwhile naming the accused in relationship with his father, the politician. I was critical of the media doing that under the PLP, and I was equally unhappy with it now under the OBA.
The two above notwithstanding, the relationship of the accused being the son of a prominent politician has suddenly become quite relevant, with the rather surprising resolution of this case with the prosecution (the Crown) presenting no evidence, resulting in the case being thrown out and the charges dropped.
As noted, I don’t think Mr Moniz should have been arrested/charged – but having been charged, the Crown had the opportunity to rethink and withdraw the charges in advance – to proceed with the case and then to apparently fail to provide the evidence (which would have been confiscated by the police at the time), leading to the collapse of the case – well, it just seems rather odd and a waste of taxpayers money.
I’m hoping that a clearer explanation of the ins and outs of this comes out pretty quick.
Right now it appears that the evidence was somehow magicked away, with political connection making this open to charges of corruption in the eyes of the public.
Again, I don’t think Mr Moniz should have been charged in the first place for possession for personal consumption, but having been charged the failure to bring evidence to court just makes the whole thing appear distinctly odd.
I wrote the above as a draft on Thursday, but held it over to see if there would be any updated news. And there has been.
On Thursday evening the Attorney General released a press release stating, to paraphrase, that the case against Mr Moniz was dropped because the amounts involved (2.1 grams) fell ‘within the normal guidelines for a police caution’.
Now, I agree that the amounts involved fell within those guidelines. What I don’t understand is why the case went to court in the first place in that instance, and why the Crown didn’t just withdraw the case in advance rather than wasting time and money.
The two statements just seem contradictory.
Perhaps even more curiouser is why is the Attorney General releasing a press statement on this issue at all?
The Crown, that is, the DPP, should be answering any questions on this issue, about why they failed to proceed with this case, and the Police should be answering questions about why they pressed charges rather than just giving a caution in the first place. Alternatively, the Governor, being responsible for both the Police and DPP, should be issuing a statement or responding to questions.
The Attorney General should not be speaking for the DPP or the Police on this issue – this is a breach of constitutional divisions of the legislature, judiciary and police.
This case has just opened the OBA up to a whole bunch of conspiracy theories of corruption and cover-up, all rather unnecessarily one would think.
We have a court case involving a Cabinet Minister’s son where first the evidence vanishes resulting in the charges being dismissed, with the defendant having one of the most expensive QC’s as his lawyer (Saul Froomkin) for what, really, was a minor charge, followed up by the Attorney General breaching his office’s remit to give an ‘explanation’ which could realistically be considered political spin.
Again, let me stress, I don’t think Mr Moniz should have been charged in the first place, on the basis of the cited charges, and instead just issued a caution in the first place.
Everything subsequent though, well, it just leaves more questions than answers, and makes a relatively minor case into a rather curious case indeed.