The Supreme Court has chastised the Assets Recovery Agency of the Financial Investigations Division for its poor handling of a Proceeds of Crime Restraint Order.
This after a respondent to the order, Patrick Oswald Prince, represented by attorney Peter Champagnie, successfully moved to have it discharged earlier this week.
On July 28, 2015, the Supreme Court granted the order on a without-notice application by the Agency against a number of persons including Prince.
The court was told by the Agency that Prince along with two other persons was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, possession of property obtained by crime and possession for the purpose of trafficking in cocaine.
This after a premises purportedly owned by Prince was searched on June 10 2014.
The order implied that Prince was present at the property when it was searched and was subsequently arrested.
The court was also told that Prince had entered Jamaica illegally from Canada on the basis that no record was found of his entry.
Prince In his discharge application argued that he was not present at the property at the time of the search nor was he arrested or charged with any offence.
Prince also proved by way of passport evidence that he’d arrived legally in the country four days after the search was conducted.
The agency in an affidavit shortly after, accepted the assertions made by Prince.
The agency admitted that they supplied faulty information when establishing Prince’s whereabouts.
However, the court refused to accept this explanation on the basis that the proper information was readily available at the time of the request.
The court also reprimanded the Agency for failing to put down all relevant information in it’s request.
This includes the fact that documents belonging to Prince were found during the search, and that a substance in the vehicle was tested and found to be cocaine.
The court says that while this doesn’t seem like a case of willful deception it suggests a failure of due process.
The court noted that this was the second time the agency failed to fulfill its disclosure obligations.
In a previous incident the Agency asserted that the defendant was charged with offences when the charges had actually been dropped.
The court therefore ruled that the restraining order on Mr. Prince’s property be discharged without prejudice.