Theft accused attorney Hilary Jeffery Nelson, who is facing a single charge of stealing thousands of pounds sterling from a British client, was granted his pretrial freedom today after being described as a “text book” candidate for bail.
The 74-year-old Bagatelle Terrace, St Thomas resident found himself on the wrong side of the law with the allegation that he stole £347, 560. 96 or BDS$855,000 belonging to Errol Hewitt between November 18, 2018 and March 4, 2019. The amount was allegedly for the purchase of property.
The attorney who has been practicing law for the past 49 years was not required to plead to the indictable charge when he appeared before Magistrate Kristie Cuffy-Sargeant. This led to objections to bail from the prosecutor.
Station Sergeant Carrison Henry pointed to the “quantum” of money in the allegation and the seriousness of the offence. He also stated that the accused was placed in a position of trust and that the evidence will show that this amount was in his “possession”.
Nelson’s attorney Naomi Lynton countered those arguments stating that her client was a proper candidate for bail as he had no prior convictions or pending matters before the court.
Addressing the objection to bail based on the quantum of money stolen Lynton argued that the charge as it now stands was merely an allegation and the “face value of the allegation is irrelevant” when is comes to a question of bail. The seriousness of the charge she further submitted held no weight as all allegations before the court were serious matters which ought to be ventilated quickly.
“Therefore I submit, the seriousness needs only be considered as to how the matter moves through the court, not something to bar someone from bail,” said Lynton who added that she was “not quite sure what to gather” from the position of trust objection.
“This is a consideration at sentencing stage . . . if it is that Mr Nelson is found guilty, not at this stage when he is presumed innocent and when he maintains that he is innocent,” she added.
Lynton also submitted that what should be considered at this stage was whether the accused would reappear in court when required to do so which she said the prosecutor did not raise, stressing that her client will not abscond from his hearings.
She stated that Nelson was not on bail and had no previous convictions.
“This is a person blemish-free coming before the court on an allegation which he says ‘I have not done’,” Lynton said about the lawyer. She went on to say that he would comply with any conditions the court saw fit to impose even as she alluded to his health status revealing that he was a diabetic.
“Mr Nelson is the textbook candidate for bail,” she added.
Magistrate Cuffy-Sargeant ruled in favour of the defence and granted Nelson bail in the sum of $400,000 with two sureties. His travel documents are now with the No. 2 District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court.
The accused, who returns to court on February 18, 2020 must also report to the Black Rock Police Station every Friday before 4 p.m. with valid identification.