Adrian Gibson, the sitting Free National Movement member of Parliament for Long Island, is set to be tried in May 2023 on corruption charges, after Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson yesterday refused to recuse herself from presiding over the case over allegations of perceived bias.
She denied a motion by Gibson’s defense lawyer, Murrio Ducille, who also represents Gibson’s co-defendants Joann Knowles and Jerome Missick.
Raphael Moxey, Donald Saunders and Brian Dorsette, lawyers for the remaining defendants Peaches Farquharson, Elwood Donaldson and Rashae Gibson, did not join the application for recusal.
Ducille asked the judge to step down from the case because she was married to now-deceased Progressive Liberal Party Cabinet Minister Peter Bethell and Gibson is a member of the FNM. Bethell died in July 2000 and Grant-Thompson has since remarried.
Addressing this concern, Grant-Thompson noted that Gibson, who is born in 1984, would have been a teenager when her husband was alive and that there was no evidence of any bad blood between them.
Ducille submitted additional arguments to ground the recusal request yesterday morning, suggesting bias because of the government that was in power when Grant-Thompson was appointed.
Grant-Thompson said, “In my view, all judges have to be appointed at some time or the other. To attribute the timing of the appointment of any judge to a political persuasion is in my view a disgraceful allegation. The constitution provides that judicial appointments do not require the blessings or input of any political party.”
Grant-Thompson said that judges were appointed based on the recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission while the chief justice was appointed following the recommendation of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition.
The judge addressed concerns by Ducille that Gibson and other defendants were seated in the prisoner’s dock during their first appearance before her on September 27 by saying that the accused persons traditionally sat in the dock.
However, yesterday they were permitted to sit in the jury box.
Gibson and his co-accused will return to court on November 7 for pre-trial case management.
Acting Deputy DPP Cordell Frazier and Karine MacVean appeared for the prosecution.