Jamaica
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Prosecutor Sophia Thomas suspended for professional misconduct

Prosecutor Sophia Thomas who was found guilty of prosecutorial misconduct has been suspended from practising for six months, starting November 1.

The General Legal Council (GLC) has also ordered Ms. Thomas to pay $100,000 in legal costs to complainant Lowell Spence, a National Commercial Bank branch manager, and $300,000 in legal costs for the legal oversight body.

She was also ordered to participate in two ethics courses.

The disciplinary committee of the GLC found that while Ms. Thomas worked in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, she violated the canons of professional ethics while prosecuting a fraud case in the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Court in November 2017.

The ruling arose from a complaint made in 2019, by Mr. Spence, who was freed of fraud charges in November 2017.

The matter was taken to the GLC and Ms. Thomas found guilty of professional misconduct.

The prosecutor, who was on secondment in the Turks and Caicos Islands, subsequently resigned from that post in mid-August.

Mr. Spence, through his attorney Matthew Hyatt, complained that Ms. Thomas knowingly used false evidence and/or participated in the creation or use of evidence that she knew to be false. 

Mr. Hyatt told Radio Jamaica News the ruling is a landmark decision and one prosecutors should bear in mind, considering "they are ministers of justice and should act accordingly". 

But attorney Hugh Wildman, who represented prosecutor Sophia Thomas, said he will be appealing the conviction and sentence imposed by the GLC. 

Mr. Wildman insisted the sanction is "totally disproportionate" and maintained that his client "has done nothing wrong in law".