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UPDATE: ‘No evidence’ to support Letty’s conspiracy charge- Julian B. Knowles QC

- Case challenging Magistrate’s sentencing begins in Court of Appeal
According to UK attorney Julian B. Knowles QC, the Magistrate erred in judgment on a number of counts and noted that his client Violet ‘Letty’ Hodge (in photo) wants her 6 year sentence handed down in September 2016 quashed or, if not possible, significantly reduced. Photo: VINO/File
Mrs Violet ‘Letty’ Hodge has moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge her 6 year sentence and 100,000 fine. Photo: VINO/File
Mrs Violet ‘Letty’ Hodge has moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge her 6 year sentence and 100,000 fine. Photo: VINO/File
Magistrate Ayanna O. Baptiste-DaBreo in late 2016 sentenced Mrs Violet ‘Letty’ Hodge to six years imprisonment and slapped her with a $100,000 fine. Photo: VINO/File
Magistrate Ayanna O. Baptiste-DaBreo in late 2016 sentenced Mrs Violet ‘Letty’ Hodge to six years imprisonment and slapped her with a $100,000 fine. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- United Kingdom (UK) Attorney at Law Julian B. Knowles QC appeared in the Court of Appeal today July 12, 2017 as the legal representative, along with popular criminal lawyer Patrick Thompson, for Violet ‘Letty’ Hodge, who is appealing the decision of Magistrate Ayanna O. Baptiste-DaBreo.

Magistrate Baptiste-DaBreo in September 2016 had sentenced Mrs Hodge to six years imprisonment and a fine of $100,000 on the charge of Conspiracy to Import Cocaine.

Baptiste-DaBreo erred on number of counts- Knowles QC

Knowles QC told the court that the Magistrate erred in judgment on a number of counts and noted that the appellant wants the conviction quashed or, if not possible, significantly reduced.

He said that in addition to the Magistrate having knowledge of his client’s medical condition, since she (client) was diagnosed with cancer, there was no evidence to support the charge of conspiracy, and wrongfully allowed the identification evidence of James Springette and failed to correctly direct herself.

The Attorney pointed out that the Magistrate evidently fell through on the words in the judgment “With persons unknown”. He said that the initial charge of conspiracy against Mrs Hodge was correct which had stated that she conspired with, Earle Deville Hodge aka Bob Hodge, Roberto 'Tico' Harrigan and others. During the course of the trial; however, the names of the aforementioned were removed, making the charge incorrect. He said that even though the charge changed, the evidence remained the same, which they went to trial with.

He pointed to another weak point of the Magistrates’ decision- the dock identification. According to   Knowles QC, the magistrate should not have permitted the Crown’s star witness, James Springette, to identify his client while she was in dock. His argument was that while it is not disallowed, there was a risk of “unfairness” to the defendant.

Meanwhile, appearing for the Crown are Principal Crown Counsel Tiffany Scatliffe-Espirit and Senior Crown Counsel, Mr O'Neal Simpson.

See previous article published July 9, 2017

‘Letty’ Hodge fighting back!

Come this Wednesday July 12, 2017 horse racing icon and businesswoman Violet ‘Letty’ Hodge will see the commencement of her case in the Court of Appeal.

Mrs Hodge is seeking to challenge the decision of Magistrate Ayanna O. Baptiste-DaBreo, who in late 2016 sentenced her to six years imprisonment and ordered that she pays a fine of $100,000 within two months of her sentencing or spend an additional six months in jail, all for the charge of conspiracy to import cocaine.

Mrs Hodge was; however, found not guilty of possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition, and not guilty of money laundering.

The owner of legendary horses like Actspectation and Really Uptown, is said to be of ill health and had to be taken from jail to Peebles Hospital at least once since her sentencing.

Mrs Hodge’s case comes at a time when her husband, Earl Deville Hodge aka Bob Hodge, is to know his fate later this month following an extradition hearing.

Bob Hodge and another local, Roberto ‘Tico’ Haŕrigan, recently faced a second extradition hearing as the US Justice Department continues to seek to have the two men tried for drug related charges in the United States.

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