The speed with which the emergency High Court hearing was called last Friday to facilitate a case of habeas corpus brought by attorney at law, Dr. David Dorsett on behalf of his client Leroy King is “a good example of justice working swiftly in Antigua and Barbuda”.
Justice Iain Morley, Q.C., made the comment as he gave his ruling on a matter in which Dr. Dorsett had brought an injunction against the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General to stop the immediate extradition of King, who had earlier that day been arrested by the police, who were preparing to extradite him to the United States of America.
King, a former head of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, had been indicted in 2009 on 21 wire and mail fraud charges for allegedly facilitating the US $7 billion Allen Stanford Ponzi Scheme. He was committed for extradition on 11 of those charges a year later.
He has since been fighting to avoid extradition to the U.S. He lost his latest court case on September 10 at the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal in St. Kitts. But it was only until King was arrested on Friday that his lawyer hastily filed a notice of appeal to the High Court in Antigua and Barbuda and for the release of his client since the appeal application had been made, thus, with that case pending his extradition could not be done.
Justice Morley, in chiding Dr. Dorsett for not moving earlier on behalf of his client, highlighted that from the time judgement was passed in St. Kitts, King stood the risk of being arrested at any time by the police and be extradited.
Dr. Dorsett said that he was restricted by not having internet service at his home over the weekend, which rendered him unable to work on his client’s case and which caused him to file the necessary documents at the time he did.
He said that it was only until he received a phone call earlier in the day that his client had been arrested that he was prompted to move more swiftly to avoid his extradition.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Anthony Armstrong, who also told the presiding judge that he had also received late documents for the hearing, argued that an appeal on behalf of King had already been turned down and there is every likelihood that an appeal to the Privy Council would meet with the same fate.
The DPP further contended that an appeal does not provide enough reason for a stay of execution.
According to the DPP, King had already exhausted all applications for Judicial Review of his case.
However, Dr. Dorsett argued that from the time of the St. Kitts ruling on September 10, King has 21 days, until October 10 to make a further appeal and he should not be extradited until that appeal is heard.
In ruling on the matter, Justice Morley said, “This case is an example of things working well judicially in Antigua and Barbuda” given that the matter had been filed the same day it was heard.
He ordered Dr. Dorsett to submit arguments, outlining reasons for the appeal by 5 p.m. on November 5 to which the office of the Attorney General should respond by November 22.
He also ordered that the current bail conditions be continued. King is out on $110,000 bail with two sureties. He has to report to the St. John’s Police Station three times per week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
King’s latest effort to appeal is on the ground that he should be allowed to fight his extradition case all the way to the Privy Council, though current laws say these cases cannot go beyond the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.