I represent former Premier of Turks and Caicos Islands, Mr Michael Misick in association with Mr Adrian Kayne at Mr Misick’s trial in Turks & Caicos on various corruption offences.
My attention has been drawn to a media release that has been issued on behalf of “Sandals-related companies” and carried in various media.
I feel constrained to issue this response on behalf of my client.
It is my view that the statement has been a consequence of the practice of the prosecution of issuing daily releases of its unproved opening statement through a website created by the prosecution itself.
I consider this practice to be improper and undue and I have expressed this position in court.
It is clear to me that the publication of the prosecution’s opening statement to the Judge, and its style, have excited feelings of hostility and antipathy towards my client.
This was clearly evident on Thursday, January 28, 2016, when Mr Misick was accosted with threats by an individual while he was leaving the court. Together with the prosecutor, we brought this incident to the attention of the Judge on the following morning.
In addition, we now have a large corporate entity feeling obliged to issue a statement in relation to issues that pertain to contested evidence in the case.
It is a matter for the Judge if His Lordship will consider at the next sitting whether the issuance of this statement is contemptuous of the court and whether it is calculated to unduly and improperly influence the proceedings.
As Mr Misick’s lawyer, my immediate concern is that the statement is so highly prejudicial to his rights and to his presumption of innocence, that it defeats his opportunity for a fair trial.
It is my view that the prosecution’s daily publication of its highly charged opening statement and this statement have had the cumulative effect of scandalising my client, portraying him contemptuously and ultimately depriving him of the right to a fair trial that is guaranteed by the Constitution and by the Human Rights conventions.
I acknowledge that a proper balance between fair trial and press freedom must be maintained and I offer no condemnation of the media that seek to inform the public.
However, parties to a trial must not exploit the media to seek resolution or ventilate on matters that are properly only within the purview of the court at this time.
These extra-juridical publications, emanating from the prosecution and from a corporate entity connected to the evidence, are capable of undermining the independence of the judiciary and the dignity of the process of trial.
We must not allow this process to degenerate into the nature and spectacle of an inquisition.
I therefore intend to make an application to the court to declare a mis-trial and to discharge my client and will reserve Mr Misick’s right to further recourse.
My client has lost his right to a fair trial!
Ralph A. Thorne, QC
Attorney-at-Law for Michael Misick