From the Courts
June 23, 2006

Voodoo case before Court

Case involving Lawyer Bertram Stapleton, Dexter Michael and Kenneth Joof resumed last Tuesday at the Magistrate’s Court in Kingstown. The three men are on charges of “conspiracy to consult with persons reputed to be practicing obeah for unlawful purpose, mainly for the confiscation aspect of a sentence against Oxford Chance; Conspiring together to obstruct, prevent or pervert the course of justice; and Disrespect to a judicial proceeding namely by causing a list of names of two presiding judges and three practicing lawyers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be compiled and printed for the purpose of that said list to be taken or sent by Kenneth Joof to a person involved in Voodoo.”{{more}}

The charges stemmed from incidents occurring between January 6 and March 13, 2006. Police Constable, Pedro Harry said that on March 13, 2006 he was on duty at the E.T Joshua Airport about around 8:40 a.m. He said that he saw the accused Joof when he came in and checked with immigration officials. Harry told the court he went over to Joof and identified himself as a police officer. Harry said Joof complied with his request to hand over his passport and travel documents. He said while examining the documents he realised that Joof was travelling to Trinidad.

Officer Harry said during a search carried out on Joof, clothing and a few documents were discovered. On one document the license plate numbers of vehicles registered in the name of Oxford Chance of Chateaubelair were listed under a subject heading “Expenditure”.

The second piece of paper included the names of five individuals including Justice Frederick Bruce Lyle, Justice Gertel Thom, Prosecutor with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Grenville Williams, Carla James, also a prosecutor with the FIU and Prosecutor Saboto Caesar of the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Harry said Joof told him he got the documents from Oxford Chance’s lawyer, Bertram Stapleton.

Chance, who owns a car rental service was convicted on February 15, 2006 of drug related charges, following which the matter was deferred to the High Court so that a confiscation hearing and sentencing could be heard.

In a statement read to the court, Dexter Michael was reported to have told police that Joof told him he was sending the documents with the names and vehicles numbers to a voodoo man in Nigeria. It is also understood that Joof went to Stapleton’s office and said he could have the confiscation hearing dismissed. The statement said that Stapleton took the matter for a joke, but still gave Joof the documents.

Statements read in court also claimed that Stapleton said that Joof told him that he knows a voodoo doctor in Nigeria who could make the judges involved in the confiscation matter change their minds.

The case will resume on Monday at the Magistrate’s Court in Kingstown. The three accused are being represented by veteran lawyer, Arthur Williams and prosecuted by Director of Public Prosecution, Colin Williams.