Senior Superintendent Assan Thompson loses corruption appeal
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
Senior Superintendent of police Assan Thompson has lost his appeal against his conviction for breaching the Corruption Prevention Act.
Last year January, Thompson was ordered to pay a fine of $50,000 or spend three months in prison for failing to provide documents as requested by the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption.
In January 2010 Thompson was asked by the Commission to supply documents in relation to his assets.
Under the law, public servants are required to declare their assets and liabilities annually.
It was alleged that Thompson failed to provide a quantity surveyor's report for a property on Karachi Avenue in St Andrew.
The senior policeman was sent reminders about the document but the information provided was not in a form suitable to the Commission.
Senior Superintendent Thompson was subsequently summoned to the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court for allegedly breaching the Corruption Prevention Act.
Today the Court of Appeal found that the resident magistrate gave due consideration to the relevant matters in the case.
And it said the magistrate, Stephanie Jackson-Haisley, was correct in her findings and conclusion that there was no breach in relation to the principle of burden of proof.
The court said “we are of the opinion that there has been no breach of the constitution of any principle relating to the burden of proof or mens rea and we are also of the opinion that when the matter is viewed in the round, the error of the learned Resident Magistrate has not affected a proper and balanced approach to the issues in the case. And the court found that she gave due consideration to the matters of relevance”.
Thompson, who was represented by attorney-at-law Bert Samuels, had contended that the RM misled herself on the law when she classified the nature of the offence for which he was charged under section 15 (2) (c) as essentially “an act of corruption”.
The court said it is clear that the RM was referring to section 15(1) of the Act which reads: “Any person who commits an act of corruption commits an offence and is liable – (a) on summary conviction in a Resident Magistrate's Court ...”.
However, the court said as Samuels pointed out the subsection does not relate to the charge before the court.
The fact Thompson was charged under section 15(2), which makes no reference to an act of corruption.
The court said the prosecutor Leighton Morris quite rightly conceded that the RM erred in that regard.
“It needs to be immediately appreciated that the mere fact an error has been made in this regard does not necessarily mean that the conviction is bad”, the court said.
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