(L-R) Former ministers Floyd Hall, Lillian Boyce, Jeffrey Hall and McAllister ‘Piper’ Hanchell
By Caribbean News Now contributor
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- A plea and directions hearing was held on Monday at the Supreme Court in Providenciales before the trial judge Justice Harrison in the criminal trial of four former Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) ministers, Floyd Hall, Lillian Boyce, Jeffrey Hall and McAllister Hanchell, along with a number of their relatives and other defendants.
At Monday morning’s hearing, the prosecution informed the court that it was ready to proceed to the next stage of the case before the end of the year and then to proceed to a full trial in January 2014.
However, the attorneys acting for a majority of the defendants submitted that they would not be ready to make submissions until the New Year or to proceed to trial until later in 2014.
Justice Harrison ordered that a further pleas and directions hearing would take place on January 6, 2014, and that the trial would start on July 7, 2014.
The prosecution said it was pleased to note that there is now a firm date for the trial to start, adding that it has been ready for an effective plea and directions hearing since July 2012.
The first charges in this case were brought in November 2011. All the defendants were sent for trial on all the charges against them, after a sufficiency hearing before the Supreme Court in April 2012.
The delay has been caused by issues relating to legal aid (the costs to be paid out of public funds for the defence).