Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The fraud trial of former Cash Plus boss Carlos Hill took a dramatic turn yesterday when Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn stopped the trial, which began last week Monday.
Defence lawyers Valerie Neita Robertson and Deborah Martin had been complaining since the particulars of the indictment were amended last week Wednesday that they were being hampered in the preparation of Hill's defence. They also complained about the late disclosures of relevant material and documents from the Crown.
When the trial resumed yesterday in the Home Circuit Court, the lawyers continued their arguments about the late disclosures. Justice Paulette Williams then adjourned the matter and advised the prosecutors to bring the DPP up to speed on the situation.
On resumption, prosecutors Claudette Thompson, Kerri Ann Kemble, and Adley Duncan informed the court that the DPP had entered a conditional nolle prosequi (no prosecution) but was going to start over the trial.
Justice Williams then discharged the seven-member jury. She extended Hill's bail and ordered him to return on May 17 for plea and case-management hearing.
The defence lawyers indicated that they were going to challenge the matter because although the DPP had the power to stop the proceedings, she did not have the power to restart the matter on the same indictment with the same charges and facts.
No case against Hill
A few hours later, the judge recalled the parties to court, saying she had made an error in setting a mention date. She explained that since the DPP had discontinued the matter, there was no longer a case against Hill before the court. She then told Hill he was free to go.
Minutes after Hill left the court, he was arrested by the police on the same charges of the amended indictment. Hill is facing charges of fraudulently inducing persons to invest and attempting to induce persons to invest in Cash Plus Ltd and the Cash Plus Group. He was previously charged with fraud in relation to only Cash Plus Ltd.
Hill was taken before Justice Lloyd Hibbert, who offered him bail in the sum of $15 million with two sureties. Hill was ordered to report to the Organised Crime Unit on Mondays and to surrender his travel documents.
The case is set for mention on May 17. Justice Hibbert instructed the prosecutors to ensure that the defence was served with all relevant materials and documents.
Hill has been before the courts since 2008, following the collapse of the investment club.
More than 400,000 Cash Plus investors are owed about $10 billion.