Tuesday 18th September, 2018- The Human Trafficking Case brought against night club owner Cheryl Thompson was dismissed today after the prosecution failed to meet the deadline set by Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh.
When the business woman appeared in court last week for committal proceedings to begin, the prosecution team was not ready and requested a three week adjournment from Chief Magistrate Walsh, since the file is still not before the DPP. The magistrate instead gave the prosecution one week in which to get their act together, stating it was a lengthy period between the time the charges were laid and the date when committal proceedings were set to commence.
When the matter was called again this morning, it was learnt that the prosecution team only dispatched the file to the DPP’s office yesterday.
Having gone through the case file, the police were given certain instructions, to which they sought to get more time from the court to carry out the DPP’s directives.
However, the chief magistrate says she felt disrespected by the police for not taking her advice so that the matter could have proceeded.
She reminded the police that the information that is required to complete the case file can be gathered in Antigua at the airport and a local business.
She says it is not right to have someone on a charge for seven months.
Magistrate Walsh subsequently dismissed the matter and informed Cheryl Thompson she was free to go.
However, Thompson may not be out of the woods. The charges she faces are indictable and since there is no statute of limitations, she can be re-arrested.
In February, 2018, Cheryl Thompson and several other persons were arrested when police raided her night club on Nevis Street. She was detained for questioning and subsequently charged with four counts of Human Trafficking.
In June, police slapped her with new Human Trafficking charges. Those offences included five counts of Debt Bondage in relation to human trafficking and five counts of human trafficking.
The offences run from November 30, 2017 to February 9, 2018.