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Trial for man accused of bribery by public official to restart after 'hiccup'

- Trial to be relisted before a new magistrate
Robert Swain, right, and his attorney Valerie Stevens-Gordon departing the Magistrate’s Court on November 18, 2019. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Wesley Legair testified before the Magistrate’s Court that he saw the money exchange between his former employer and Robert Swain, witnessed the meetings and the altercation between the two over monies owed to Swain by his employer.

Swain is on trial for the offence of bribery by a public official. He allegedly received in excess of $5,000 which represented part of proceeds for his alleged involvement in a contract for works on the Finance Department in the now R.T. O’Neal Central Administration Building.

At the time, the contractor had only met part of the requirements for the bid but received it anyway with the verbal agreement that Swain would receive approximately 45 per cent of the proceeds of the contract which was $37,000 for labour and $52,000 for the actual works.

Nonetheless, the contractor allegedly failed to keep the end of his verbal agreement and only gave the defendant the envelope with just over $5,000, which he then used to purchase a motorcycle in cash shortly after that.

The defendant was reportedly unhappy, and the disagreement led to an altercation between the two men while they were at a bar in the Crabbe Lott area, also known as the Ghetto on December 29, 2018.

The contractor later reported the matter to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) which led to the defendant’s arrest and charge.

I was there

When the trial commenced on November 18, 2019, Legair took the stand as a witness for the Crown.

The witness said he was employed as a driver and he was in the vehicle with his employer when the money changed hands between the two.

“He (Legair’s employer) counted it (the cash) before he put it in the envelope and he closed it… I don’t know the exact amount, but it was over $5, 000,” Legair stated.

He stated that he was privy to the conversations between his employer and Swain and “it was about monies that were owed to Swain.”

Legair said he was among the crowd of onlookers when Swain allegedly attacked his employer in the Ghetto area.

“I saw everybody go outside and [they] were in a confrontation. They were talking about an agreement that they had,” he added.

Hiccup encountered at start of the trial

Following Legair’s part-heard testimony, Magistrate Ayanna O. Baptiste-DaBreo said there was a hiccup in the proceedings, and it will now have to start over before another magistrate on February 12, 2020.

Attorney-at-law Valerie Stephens-Gordon is representing Swain, and Senior Crown Counsel in the office of Director of Public Prosecution Tamara Foster represents the Commissioner of Police.

5 Responses to “Trial for man accused of bribery by public official to restart after 'hiccup'”

  • Strupes (26/11/2019, 14:29) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Them call swain's name and legair's name but what about the one who paid the bribe??????????????????????
  • Legal tender (26/11/2019, 15:39) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ strupes, that’s true and why wasn’t he charge for bribery of a public official under the Criminal Code.
  • Aju (27/11/2019, 07:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Stripes..small fish. What about the big sharks.


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