Mon | Sep 26, 2022

J'can prosecutor found guilty of professional misconduct resigns post in TCI

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2022 | 2:52 PM
The ruling by the General Legal Council arose from a complaint made in 2019 by Lowell Spence, a National Commercial Bank branch manager, who was freed of fraud charges in November 2017.

Sophia Thomas, the prosecutor who was recently found guilty of professional misconduct by Jamaica's General Legal Council, has resigned from the office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), where she was on secondment.

A report from the TCI Sun says Thomas' last day in office was Friday.

The Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council found that while Thomas worked in the Office of the DPP, she violated the canons of professional ethics while prosecuting a fraud case in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court in November 2017.

A date is to be set to give Thomas an opportunity to be heard in mitigation before a sanction is imposed by the committee.

TCI's Director of Public Prosecutions, Eugene Otuonye, reportedly stated in a press release that: "It was noted that Ms. Thomas has a right of appeal against the decision. However, while this decision subsists, its reputational implications on the ODPP, the TCI Public Service and the TCI Bar Association, all of which Ms. Thomas was a member, could not permit her to continue in the employment of TCIG as a prosecutor or as an attorney of the TCI. Accordingly, with effect from August 3, 2022, Ms Thomas was placed on administrative leave and ceased to perform the functions of her office, save to update and hand over her case files."

The ruling by the General Legal Council arose from a complaint made in 2019 by Lowell Spence, a National Commercial Bank branch manager, who was freed of fraud charges in November 2017.

Spence complained that Thomas knowingly used false evidence and/or participated in the creation or use of evidence that she knew to be false.

It is the first time in Jamaica's legal history that a prosecutor was found guilty of professional misconduct.

Thomas' attorney, Hugh Wildman, has stated that she has strong grounds of appeal and will be taking the matter to the Court of Appeal.

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