Caribbean News Service (CNS).
BRADES, Montserrat, Jul 05 2016 – Attorney-at-Law Warren Cassell has had all of his convictions quashed by the Privy Council leaving Cassell with no criminal record. Five British Justices sitting on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, handed down their judgment in a 16 page document today. The Privy Council’s ruling declared that all of Cassell’s convictions be quashed because of what the court described as the trial judge’s “serious misdirections” to the jury and in some instances the fact that the trial judge “made his own opinion on the topic too explicit”.
In 2012, the lawyer was convicted by Montserrat’s High Court of two counts of Conspiracy to Defraud, nine counts of procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception and one count of money laundering and served two years imprisonment. Queen’s Counsel Thomas Roe and Attorney Dr. David Dorsette who both appeared for Warren Cassell argued the trial was unfair in that trial judge Albert Redhead removed from the jury critical issues of fact that were solely for their consideration. Lawyers for the Crown accepted that they cannot contend otherwise, but nonetheless any jury properly directed would have ultimately brought Cassell guilty.
However, the five panel law lords rejected the crown’s contention holding that critical issues were in effect taken out of the hands of the jury rendering the convictions “unsafe and unsatisfactory” because of the several defects in the judges directions to the jury. The court also said that the proviso ought not to be applied. The Privy Council also quashed an order by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal for re-trial of the money laundering charge. In 2013, the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal had quashed the Money Laundering conviction, set aside Justice Redhead’s 5-year sentence and ordered a re-trial which prompted Cassell to pursue an additional ground of appeal at the UK Privy Council. The Privy Council remains the final court of appeal for many small commonwealth countries like Montserrat. The five Justices Lords Mance, Kerr, Reed, Hughes and Toulson heard the case in the Supreme Court at Westminster.