Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Prosecutor Sophia Thomas gets six-month suspension for professional misconduct

Published:Friday | September 30, 2022 | 3:54 PM
The disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council found that while Thomas worked in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, she violated the canons of professional ethics while prosecuting a fraud case in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court in November 2017.

The first prosecutor in Jamaica's legal history to be found guilty of professional misconduct Sophia Thomas was today suspended from practising as a lawyer for six months effective November 1.

Thomas was also ordered by the General Legal Council (GLC) to pay $100,000 in legal costs to complainant Lowell Spence, a National Commercial Bank branch manager, and $300,000 in legal costs for the legal oversight body.

She was also ordered to participate in two ethics courses.

Spence was represented by attorney Mathew Hyatt of the law firm Knight Junor and Samuels.

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

The ruling arose from a complaint made in 2019 by Spence, 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.

The matter was taken to the GCL and Thomas was found guilty of professional misconduct.

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

The decision came down while she was on secondment to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Arising from the ruling, Thomas subsequently resigned from that post in mid-August and has since moved to seek to return to her job in Jamaica.

Her request was sent by DPP Paula Llewellyn to the Public Service Commission for advice and a decision.

- Barbara Gayle 

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