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HMP inmate Tifern B. Henley accuses DPP of violating constitutional rights

- writes letter of complaint to Chief Justice, Governor, Attorney General, Members of the House of Assembly & Complaints Commissioner, among other entities
An inmate of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) in Balsam Ghut, Tortola, Tifern B. Henley has accused the Director of Public Prosecutions and Magistrate’s Court of violating his constitutional rights. Photo: Provided/File
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kim Hollis Q.C. The DPP has been accused by prisoner on remand, Mr Tifern B. Henley of denying him justice by causing his court case to be continually delayed. Photo: Flickr
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kim Hollis Q.C. The DPP has been accused by prisoner on remand, Mr Tifern B. Henley of denying him justice by causing his court case to be continually delayed. Photo: Flickr
Mr Tifern B. Henley has taken his complaint as far as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) Dame Janice M. George-Pereira. Photo: ECSC
Mr Tifern B. Henley has taken his complaint as far as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) Dame Janice M. George-Pereira. Photo: ECSC
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- An inmate of Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) in Balsam Ghut, Tortola, has accused the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Magistrate Court of violating his constitutional rights. He has also declared he has no faith, belief or trust in the legal system of the Virgin Islands as a result.

Virgin Islander Tifern B. Henley told Virgin Islands News Online his constitutional rights were violated, which has led to him being remanded and has also caused him to lose financially.

“Due to such my release is forthwith coming and should be granted immediately,” Mr Henley wrote in a June 28, 2019 dated letter of complaint to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Chief Justice Dame Janice M. George-Pereira as well as Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert, Deputy Governor’s Office, Attorney General, Members of the House of Assembly, Registrar of High Court, Director of Public Prosecutions, Complaints Commissioner, and Virgin Islands Legal Tribunal.

Justice delayed?

According to Mr Henley, he was made to plead before two different magistrates, and had 5 trial dates before one of the magistrates regarding a matter of assault. The VC, he said, even took the stand and was sworn in to give evidence. “However, the DDP for whatever reason was unable to proceed.”

Henley also shared that his previous lawyer Stephen R. Daniels was instructed to put forth a no case submission to have the matter dismissed; however, this did not happen and the matter was adjourned. However, the following court date the defense was told the matter would be committed to the High Court via paper committal.

“The issue and problem is that I was asked to plea before 2 different magistrates as l indicated before. My plea was accepted by the said magistrates with no objections by the DDP. Trial dates were set 5/6 times within an 8 week span. The VC in the matter took the stand and was sworn in to give evidence.

“To my understanding of the court process is when you plea the case starts. And when the case starts before the magistrate they're the one who handle the matter/case until the end/conclusion. In May 2017 I pleaded before [Ayanna O. Baptiste] Dabreo and in October 2018 was asked to plea again before [Shawn] Innocent.”

Henley said he was then told the DPP had reviewed the file and decided to send the matter/case to the High Court.

“The strict rules and procedures the court goes by shouldn't be bias or discriminative in no way whatsoever. No new evidence or development came about or was found. However after 20 months in Magistrate's Court with numerous trial dates, even after the VC took the stand to give evidence and the DDP couldn't proceed the matter/case was still sent to the High Court.”

According to Mr Henley, the DDP is getting 2 swings at the same matter at both levels, in Magistrate's Court and High Court.

“How it is lawfully right to go before both the Magistrate and High Court for the same matter/case. I am within my rights to be treated fairly within a reasonable time. The constitution states clearly that I am entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time. And I am presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Henley quoted the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007, under Provision to Secure Protection of Law 16 (1) (2a). Under the heading, Protection from Discrimination, (1a) (2b), saying it clearly states different treatment to different persons on any grounds is wrong. “Everyone should have the same opportunity regardless of race, sex, age, religious beliefs, political affiliation etc.”

No faith in the legal system

A frustrated Mr Henley said he has no faith, belief or trust in the legal system of the Virgin Islands. “However, I do in the Constitution 2007 of the Virgin Islands though. After what I am currently going through with the system you can't blame me, the constitution was put there to protect the people. It was also put there to make sure we the people are being treated fairly, lawfully and respectfully. As we all know taking advantage of or being treated unfairly when coming before the courts is unconstitutional.”

Mr Henley wants the various legal institutions and offices to tell him if it is common, ethical or a practice to have someone plead guilty before 2 different magistrates; have a VC take the stand, sworn in to give evidence and the DDP was unable to proceed any further; have a matter/case before the Magistrate Court for almost 2 years (20 months) and can't proceed; have a matter/case before the Magistrate Court for almost 2 years (20 months,) that's was unable to start for whatever reason by the DDP, but the matter/case was sent to the High Court; and to have a matter/case before the court having 5/6 trial dates in 8 weeks, after being before the magistrate court for 20 months but unable to proceed although the VC took the stand and was sworn in to give evidence. 

“My constitutional rights were breached which caused me to be remanded. Due to such my release is forthwith coming and should be granted immediately. Any actions that result in any constitutional rights being breached are unlawful. Being unlawful simply means down wrongfully and it's against the law. I am humbly seeking my release on grounds if my constitutional rights are being violated/breached before the court by the DDP,” Mr Henley stated.

Further, Mr Henley said his prolonged incarceration is causing him to lose financially, as he has already had to close his construction business. Further, Mr Henley said he was scheduled for surgery on his chest for Friday July 12, 2019 but the National Health Insurance (NHI) refused to pay for his surgery.

He said it is even now more urgent that he is released so he can take care of his health. "I am an inmate at HM Prison. If that's the case I need to be free to take care of myself."

Our newsroom reached out to the Office of the DPP and Governor’s Office regarding the complaints by Mr Henley. The Governor's Office acknowleged our queries and a response is expected; however, no response was received from the Office of the DDP up to time of publication.

19 Responses to “HMP inmate Tifern B. Henley accuses DPP of violating constitutional rights”

  • wize up (10/07/2019, 16:34) Like (24) Dislike (6) Reply
    let us see how this matter pan-out because comrade taking some bold steps......”get up, standup for your rights”(dont give up the fight)
  • Not2Sure (10/07/2019, 16:36) Like (24) Dislike (5) Reply
    we all know the legal system is no diffrent to other branches of government corrupt
  • Silly (10/07/2019, 21:21) Like (63) Dislike (13) Reply
    Tiffern clearly doesn’t want to face the consequences of his actions.

    He is a very violent person that needs to be punished & put away from society.
    • To Silly (11/07/2019, 10:40) Like (11) Dislike (4) Reply
      Everyone have rights regardless, they are innocent until proven guilty. And the DPP have no authority to violate his or anyone constitutional rights end of story.

      The DPP wants to have him tried in Magistrate's Court for 20 months and now High Court and that's fair to him. No that's not, the constitutional rights to a fair trial within a reasonable time was breech. And an example needs to be sent to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution not to violate any one constitutional rights period.
      • Tiffern is that you (11/07/2019, 19:43) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        I believe this is Tiffern himself.

        You are not permitted to have a cell phone in jail. Give your cell phone to the next prison officer that you see please.

        LOL
        • @Tiffern (12/07/2019, 11:01) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
          The prisoners have cell phones and internet access at lib. What is new at our government supported vacation home?
    • Gyal Clown (11/07/2019, 12:01) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply

      Man does bad up gyal beat up gyal like most Tola man. Tek jail and the rest gyal clown from Tola, could only threaten gyal with violence to stay with them.

      • No Tola man want you.. (11/07/2019, 13:13) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
        You sound like you get burn already. You all only want the Tola Man money, when you get a blow take that too.
      • @ goal clown (11/07/2019, 13:20) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        No that’s rock and cruse. Not even stj just two ayo....
    • lololol (11/07/2019, 15:51) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply

      People just do not understand Henley's point. He is saying his constitutional rights were breech, not trying to avoid a trial. His rights were breech and that is wrong, everyone is entitled to a fair trial, the constitution states such. The DPP been violating people rights. He been before the Magistrate Court for 20 months and now 6 months before the High Court. How is that doesn't want to face his consequences. Please do tell.

      Henley is not no violent person, I do not agree with that. What violent crime he been charge with or did? This whole thing with Henley is being blown up.

  • Interesting (10/07/2019, 22:09) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    Let this be a lesson to some if not all. It should behoove all of us to be law abiding citizens so as to not end up in such a predicament as this young man. We all see the shortcoming in the court system where cases are adjourned for lack of preparation and the sorts and individual before the courts spent years on remand that by the time their matter gets tried and/or they get convicted they would have already spent a considerable amount of time in jail. We need swifter resolutions to the amount of delays in some of these cases.
  • People's Rights (11/07/2019, 08:48) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply

    The DPP should be fired. Once you breech any one's rights you can't be in the right. That office only cares about convictions nothing else. Henley was treated unfairly before the courts and such is wrong. He needs to be free with a compensation cheque.

  • Constitutional Rights (11/07/2019, 10:42) Like (14) Dislike (1) Reply
    What kind of madness I am reading here? This seems personal to me if you ask me. Why is he being tried at both levels? As he said that's unfair and such is a breech of his constitutional rights.

    It's either Magistrate Court or High Court not both and Kim Hollis knows this. This young man should be set free, not be cause he's Innocent. But because of the fact that the of the Director of Public Prosecution breech his constitutional rights.

    One can be Guilty however they still have rights to be treated fairly before the courts. The constitution states such clearly as Henley pointed out.

    This young man stand up for his rights and I applaud him for that. The DPP been violating people's rights all the time and it need to stop
  • Shame on DPP (11/07/2019, 11:58) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    The DPP did violated Henley constitutional rights. Magistrate Court was chosen to tried his matter not once but twice.

    Why after all the delay the case was sent High Court after can't start in Magistrate's Court after being there for 2 years?

    That can't be fair, he's within his rights for a fair trial within a reasonable time. The constitution states that very clearly.
  • YEA YEA (11/07/2019, 14:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Two wrongs do not a right.

    DDP & the whole court system need to be professional and deal with the consequences of THEIR actions.
  • Mind Games (11/07/2019, 14:25) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply

    What BS you're talking? How he doesn't want to face his consequences of his action? This is about being treated fairly before the courts. He been going to court for over 20 months and the DPP can't start. Its been 6 months now in High Court and still can't start. That's 26 months how is that fair.

    I don't know Henley to be a violet, so I disagree with that. He's innocent til proven guilty, also another constitutional rights of his. This young man never was charged with no violet crime.

  • Balls (11/07/2019, 14:34) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

    Constitutional rights are they for some or are for all? People of the BVl have this mindset as if it's not for everyone. The man constitutional rights were breech before the courts.

    It's simple either his rights to a fair trial were breech/violated or not. This what I am reading is, end of story. The DPP wants to put people in prison although they violated one's constitutional rights.

    The DPP is breaking the law themselves.
    This young man got BALLS for standing up for his rights.

    What's the powers at be are doing? What the Governor and VlP Government intends to do about this?



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