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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

STT businessman accused of having criminal proceeds denied bail

STT businessman accused of having criminal proceeds denied bail

A St Thomas businessman pleaded not guilty to possession of criminal proceeds when he appeared in the Magistrate Courts on Monday, March 14.

Keyon Smith, a United States citizen, was charged with having $83,732 in his possession which, according to the court, was in whole or part, indirectly or directly proceeds of criminal conduct. Smith was arrested on March 6, 2022.

After Smith answered to the charge, his attorney resubmitted a bail application which was denied by Magistrate Khadeen Palmer. In the bail application, his attorney said there is a surety on standby who Smith would stay with until his trial was completed.

The lawyer said usually the court gives a six-to-nine-month sentence if a person was found guilty of the charge brought against Smith. He added that the court’s hectic schedule would mean Smith would be on remand for a while and he would essentially have served his time.

The attorney also noted the police already had Smith’s passport and this would reduce the likelihood of the defendant fleeing to St Thomas once he received bail.

Smith also addressed the court and begged the Magistrate to grant him bail. He said when he came to the BVI, it was never his intention to be mixed up in anything that would have him arrested.

The defendant also told the court if he was granted bail, he would be present for all his trial and he would remain with his surety until the trial was completed and the court made a decision.

Insufficient social ties to BVI

Meanwhile, the prosecution objected to bail citing that the defence counsel did not establish enough social ties to the BVI to guarantee Smith would attend his trial and answer to the charge brought against him.

The prosecution said the court would need more information on the surety, and even in that case, the surety could not guarantee that Smith would not return to the USVI where the BVI does not have jurisdiction.

In her explanation for the rejection of the bail application, Magistrate Palmer said the lack of social ties to the territory was the main factor.
She said the BVI has a porous border and regardless of whether the police have Smith’s passport, he could still leave the territory. Magistrate Palmer advised Smith to take the bail application to the High Court to see if they will be more favourable to the application.

She also told the defendant she would make a special provision to have his trial on a Friday, as the court does not usually sit on Fridays. Magistrate Palmer said since Smith is not a resident here and he is a businessman, she will try to get the matter heard quickly.

The trial date was set for March 25, 2022.


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