Concerns over credibility and evidence handling in Frans case

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the ongoing legal proceedings involving former Member of Parliament Frans Richardson, who was recently found guilty of bribery and abuse of position in the 2021 “Aquamarine II” investigation. The defense team for Mr. Richardson has raised serious questions about the credibility of the prosecutor's case, particularly highlighting the role of who everyone assumes to be Carl Critchlow and the handling of crucial evidence.

The Richardson legal team has vehemently scrutinized the Public Prosecutor’s Office over the reliability of Carl Critchlow’s statements, calling into question the credibility and motivations of the individual, and challenging the integrity of the prosecutor's case as a whole. The defense argues that Critchlow, who has changed his story multiple times, paid a substantial amount to avoid criminal prosecution after making incriminating statements against Richardson. Such actions cast doubt on the veracity of Critchlow’s claims.

Moreover, the defense points out discrepancies in Critchlow's statements, where he claims to donate significant amounts to politicians during elections, yet asserts in court that he has never paid bribes to other politicians or officials except to Richardson. This contradiction raises serious concerns about the reliability of Critchlow’s testimony.

Let me go further: Since Critchlow’s arguments in this case are so contradictory, it is impossible for the case to stand on its own, especially if it means ruining someone’s life. Those who have followed this case will remember that at one point, Critchlow would respond to questions by answering “yes,” “no,” and then “yes” and “no” in succession.

He could recall everything the prosecutor asks him, but he conveniently forgets details regarding Frans’ defense. He testified in court that he gave Frans a donation without expecting anything in return or a favor. He alters that tale once more a short time after. In sworn statements, he identified to the police the recipients of his political donations and even called them by name. He later claimed to have given to Frans alone. This person would have been so tainted in any courtroom in the world that the case would have been dismissed.

The defense has also brought to light the absence of crucial correspondence and communication records between Richardson, the Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP), and the Minister of TEATT [Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication – Ed.], arguing that the case file lacks essential documentation. Additionally, the defense contests the prosecutor’s failure to consider alternative scenarios and potential political motivations behind financial transactions.

One key point of contention is the prosecutor’s alleged confusion of entities in the case, specifically Carl Critchlow and his company Taliesin Construction NV. The defense argues that such confusion contributes to a misleading picture of the events in question.

Furthermore, Richardson’s defense highlights the prosecutor’s lack of clarity in specifying evidence and accuses the prosecution of failing to consider Richardson’s limited control over the Bureau Telecommunication and Post, challenging the allegations related to the LEA building purchase and post-Hurricane Irma repairs.

The defense also questions the prosecutor’s portrayal of Parliament’s committees having an oversight role, pointing out that committees cannot make contracts for government foundations or companies. They challenge whether the Justice Committee has ever summoned the Court to Parliament or called the Prosecutor in a meeting, emphasizing that such oversight does not align with the realities of parliamentary functions.

Put another way, the prosecution is manipulating word meanings to suit their desired context – a practice they have repeatedly engaged in. They give the false impression that Frans and/or the TEATT committee of Parliament, of which he was a member, attend BTP board meetings and are aware of all of the day-to-day activities and decisions made by BTP by claiming that the committee has “oversight” over BTP. The mere fact that the parliamentary committee is meeting to discuss BTP, Telem, etc., does not imply that the committee is in charge or has oversight over those companies. And, as a matter of fact, the Minister would be questioned by Parliament, not BTP directly. That is the wordplay used by the prosecutor to establish a fictitious connection to Frans.

This is not the way the law should be practiced when there is lack of evidence or no evidence at all to support claims. The prosecutor knows they have a tainted case built on the testimony of a tainted, unreliable person. Will the judge set such a dangerous precedent in this country? Will the Minister of Justice allow this butchery of the spirit of the law to continue?

In conclusion, it is imperative for a fair and just legal process that these concerns raised by Richardson's defense are thoroughly examined. The public deserves transparency and confidence in our judicial system, and a careful review of the case, including the credibility of witnesses and the handling of evidence, is essential for upholding these principles.


A concerned citizen

The Daily Herald

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