Court of Appeal ruling a 'great relief' for James Forbes — attorneyFriday, February 26, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The attorney representing James Forbes, who this morning had his 2014 conviction and sentence for corruption thrown out by the Court of Appeal, says the delivery of the decision some nine years later is a source of great relief for the former policeman.
Forbes, a former senior superintendent of police, had been accused of destroying a case file prepared against Tankweld boss, Bruce Bicknell, who was accused of offering a bribe to a policeman to dispense of a traffic ticket for speeding. Forbes was fined $800,000 or six months in prison after he was convicted for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
This morning, the court of appeal handed down the decision, noting that the $800,000 which Forbes was fined by a magistrate in the St Andrew Parish Court should be refunded to him “forthwith”.
In a statement on behalf of Forces, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown said, “The ruling of the appellate court setting aside and putting in legal context the errors of the lower court that found him guilty is most welcome. It is an occasion for moderate celebration. It has put to an end nine years of uncertainty and anxiety during which key aspects of SSP Forbes' life were put on hold.
“His disappointment in the result of the trial proceedings which preceded the Court of Appeal's review of his case cannot be expressed in words. On all accounts: from witnesses for the prosecution, witnesses for the defence and the public at large SSP Forbes had served his country well as an officer of Jamaica Constabulary Force with a stellar and impeccable career destined for highest office in the police force.”
Samuels-Brown said that this is an occasion for “moderate celebration” as “you cannot unring a bell”.
“While nothing can undo or eradicate the losses suffered over the nine years that his case has lingered in the courts, SSP Forbes is grateful for the learned, impassionate and clinical consideration by our Court of Appeal of the arguments put forward by his lawyers on his behalf and he regrets that these same arguments and legal points were not accepted or apprehended by the trial judge in the lower court. This would certainly have shortened his agony and resulted in timely justice as contemplated by our Constitution,” Samuels-Brown said.
His lawyers recognised that points of law of public importance arise in this case and were pronounced upon by the appellate court. They said the decision is therefore of importance not only for the litigant but for the public at large and will no doubt provide useful guidance for law officers.
“SSP Forbes wishes to extend his deep gratitude: firstly to the Judges of our Court of Appeal, to his attorneys on record Jacqueline Samuels-Brown QC, Linda Wright, Hugh Wildman and Marsha Samuels and those other attorneys who laboured in the background as researchers and supporters such as Anthony Armstrong, the several officers of the JCF who were unwavering in their expression of confidence in his integrity and the public at large who stood steadfastly and unwaveringly by him in this journey through his Garden of Gethsemane. Thanks be to God,” Samuels-Brown said.
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