US fisherman allowed to go home after four months in BVI prison
A United States fisherman who has spent four months at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut was last week released after Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin ordered him to pay a $4,000 fine.
The fisherman, Michael Foy was charged with illegal entry, arriving at a place other than a Customs port, and operating an unlicensed or unregulated fishing vessel.
He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. However, the judge later dismissed the fishing charge while Foy pleaded guilty to the other two.
Last Wednesday, Magistrate Benjamin handed down her sentence for the two remaining charges, ruling that Foy was free to leave the territory after paying a .
the $4,000 fine.
The 60-year-old fisherman was arrested in June near Norman Island. His boat, the Rebel, was impounded and is in danger of forfeiture as prosecutors sought to have a $511,000 fine laid against him for illegal entry.
For the charge of illegal entry, Magistrate Benjamin decided to forego a fine and imposed a four-month custodial sentence, counting the four months that he had already served.
If Foy does not pay the $4,000 fine by November 10, he will be back put back in prison for an additional six months.
While Foy was being detained, his family in the United States had alleged the fisherman had been mistreated by BVI officials.