Daryl Vaz freed of corruption charges
"Who God bless, no man curse!" That is what a beaming Daryl Vaz, opposition parliamentarian, declared yesterday shortly after he was freed of breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.
The prosecution was forced to offer no further evidence in the case against him after the main witness, Sergeant Jubert Llewelyn, admitted during his
testimony in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court that there were many
inaccuracies in his
Vaz, the member of parliament for West Portland, commenting further on his acquittal, said he now leaves the public to be judge of the matter, however, he is thankful for the support he received. "Thanks to my family and thousands of well-wishers who kept me in their prayers through this traumatic ordeal," he said, "and I will leave the public to judge the rest."
One of his lawyers, Peter Champagnie, said, "The proceedings in court today, and the result, are indications of our client's position from day one - that he was innocent of any criminal conduct."
Vaz departed the court as soon as the proceedings ended.
The charge against him stemmed from an alleged traffic violation involving businessman David 'Bruce' Bicknell after Bicknell was stopped by a traffic cop on the Florizel Glasspole Highway for speeding in April 2012. Arising from the incident, Bicknell and former Senior Superintendent of Police James Forbes were charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. The senior policeman was convicted in May 2014 and fined $800,000 or six months' imprisonment. He is appealing his conviction.
Bicknell was freed in February last year of the charge.
Police Sergeant Jubert Llewellyn, who stopped Bicknell, alleged that the businessman attempted to bribe him with $2,000 to have the ticket dismissed.
Prosecutors have alleged that four days later, Forbes convened a meeting at his St Andrew offices with Bicknell, Llewellyn, and Sergeant Delon Lewis - who arrested Bicknell for the alleged bribery - where a decision was taken to resolve the matter and not place it before the courts.
Vaz, who was also represented by attorney-at-law George Soutar, was accused of visiting Llewellyn at the Elletson Road station and allegedly making appeals to the sergeant to drop the bribery case against Bicknell. Yesterday when Vaz appeared in court he pleaded not guilty.
Evidence was given by Llewellyn, who admitted that there were many inaccuracies in his statement. He said he was forced to give a statement in circumstances where he thought he would have been charged. Llewellyn said under cross-examination by Champagnie, that when he was going to give his statement, he was taken from traffic headquarters in a marked police vehicle and his service revolver was taken from him. He said he had never been treated like that before and that caused him to feel as if he was in custody.
After Llewellyn completed his testimony, prosecutor Broderick Smith said in light of the evidence presented, the prosecution was offering no further evidence.