By Caribbean News Now Contributor
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos -- Following his return to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on Tuesday after being extradited from Brazil, former TCI premier Michael Misick was charged with conspiracy to bribe and appeared at the Magistrate’s Court in Grand Turk.
Former premier Michael Misick
Misick’s bail application was initially rejected by the magistrate, before being granted on appeal by the TCI Supreme Court later on Tuesday afternoon. Bail was reportedly set at $10 million, with a substantial portion in cash and unencumbered property sureties for the remainder.
As Misick was unable to meet the bail conditions on Tuesday evening, he was remanded into custody at the prison in Grand Turk.
According to a statement by the Governor’s Office, if Misick meets the bail conditions before Monday, 13 January 2014, he could be released earlier. The statement did not explain what will happen on January 13, if he is unable to meet those conditions.
The Governor’s Office added that, in due course, an application will be made to add Misick’s case to those against his co-accused, who are scheduled to face trial in the Supreme Court from 7 July 2014.
The 11 other defendants faced plea and direction hearings in the TCI Supreme Court this week on related charges.These are: Floyd Basil Hall; McAllister Eugene Hanchell, Lillian Elaine Boyce, Jeffrey Cristoval Hall, Clayton Stanfield Greene, Thomas Chalmers Misick, Lisa Michelle Hall, Melbourne Arthur Wilson, Quinton Albert Hall, Earlson McDonald Robinson, and Norman Saunders Jnr.
Further, co-charged developer Richard Michael Padgett has already pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and will be sentenced on 31 March 2014.
Meanwhile, Premier Rufus Ewing has taken to local television to complain that Misick and his co-accused will face trials in front of a single judge and will not have the option of a jury trial.
The constitutional right to trial by jury in the TCI was suspended in 2009 when Britain partially suspended the constitution and imposed direct rule in place of the elected ministerial government in direct response to the allegations of widespread and systemic government corruption perpetrated by Misick and his fellow ministers.
Special prosecutor Helen Garlick said later it would be “very, very difficult” to empanel an impartial jury given the volume of publicity generated by the 2008-2009 Commission of Inquiry into the alleged corruption.
The move was recommended by Commissioner Sir Robin Auld after lawyers for Misick insisted the former leader would not get a fair trial.
“There has been so much pre-trial publicity it would be impossible to empanel a jury which has no preconceived ideas about the case. It is absolutely essential that they reach a decision based only on the evidence presented in court. It would be very, very difficult for such a jury to be assembled,” Garlick said.