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UPDATE: Ruling in Bob Hodge & co. extradition hearing March 13!

Terrance Williams made powerful arguments during his submissions. Photo: VINO
Skelton (left) and Harrigan. Photo: VINO
Skelton (left) and Harrigan. Photo: VINO
Hodge (left) and Beazer.
Hodge (left) and Beazer.
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – On March 13, 2012, Senior Magistrate Valerie Stephens will rule if there is sufficient evidence for five alleged drug traffickers to be extradited to the Southern district of Florida, where they are wanted for conspiracy to import cocaine.

During a hearing this morning, Friday February 24, 2012, former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and lead prosecutor Terrance Williams submitted that the United States had the right to try Earl ‘Bob’ Hodge and company because the alleged aircraft used to transport the illegal substance was registered in the US.

Popular businessman and horse racing aficionado Hodge, along with Carlston Beazer, Chad Skelton, Roberto Harrigan and Juan Valdez are wanted for narco-trafficking charges in the US. They are jointly charged with conspiracy to import cocaine.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina District has requested the extradition of Hodge to allegedly face conspiracy to import cocaine charge.

To support his submission, Williams pointed to the Tokyo Convention Order of 1968 that states that the US has jurisdiction of its aircraft anywhere in the world.

“For the extradition purposes I asked that the Tokyo Convention Order be taken into consideration,” Williams stated.

He noted that whilst none of the accused men were on US soil when the alleged drug shipment arrived in the US – the covert act of having the arrangements to facilitate the shipment can warrant extradition.

The seasoned lawyer made reference to an Al Quida terrorist, who never stepped foot in the US, but the US requested extradition because he purchased satellite phones, other communication instruments and recruited jihads to carry out terrorist acts in the US.

Prior to that, the Senior Magistrate had ruled that the court had full and unquestionable jurisdiction to hear the matter and Governor Boyd Mc.Cleary was entitled to give such an order.

This came as a blow to the defense team, who on February 6, 2012 with Hodge’s lawyer Julian Knowles, QC leading the charge stated that there was some confusion on the part of the Governor on how to proceed.

He had pointed out that the process was flawed because it was the 1870 legislation that applied to this extradition matter not the 1989 legislation as is quoted by the DPP.

“The Authority to proceed quoted in the 1989 Act, but a schedule of the Act stated that it is only applicable once an order has been made in council…to my knowledge no such order has been made and that the DPP omitted to state so. The 1989 Act applies to the BVI when the request is from certain countries and a United States is not on the list,” Knowles had pointed out.

He added, “I think that is why this confusion has come because of misunderstanding of the Act: You have no valid document, you have no jurisdiction…a number of consequences follow. The Governor purports to exercise powers he does not have because his DPP forwarded him the wrong Act. There is nothing unusual about that and in a sense. He is purporting to exercise power he does not have and failed to take things into consideration. Taking it all together this case started from a foundation that is not a safe foundation….you must forthwith discharge the men in custody because you don’t have any jurisdiction.”

His submission was backed by Tana’nia Small, Skelton’s lawyer. She noted that a serious submission had been made and pointed out the men had been detained when the court has no jurisdiction. Likewise, Richard Rowe, Beazer’ lawyer, said the submission raised a fundamental issue about jurisdiction and added ‘It was not an ambush.”

Valdez’s lawyer, Stephen Daniels announced that Knowles’ submission “is very serious and complex” while Patrick Thompson, Harrigan’s lawyer, bluntly stated that the Crown should have verify the law before “embarking on the extradition.”

However, in summing up her decision, the Senior Magistrate said she spent many evenings looking at the written submissions put forward to her by the Crown and defense lawyers and explained that she was satisfied that the Crown “was operating under the correct legislation”.

The Magistrate also stated that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from the Governor dated October 27, 2011 was addressed to the appropriate person [the Magistrate] in accordance with that legislation that is - the Authority to Proceed with the matter.

She said that yesterday February 23, 2012, the Governor signed a second Authority to Proceed (ATP), however, she will proceed with the first one.

“I accept the ATP dated October 27, 2011 giving the court the full and unquestionable jurisdiction,” Magistrate Stephens stated, and dismissed Knowles attempts to ask several questions.

During a court hearing on August 27, 2011, Crown Counsel Valston Graham told the court that throughout the years Hodge and his alleged accomplices allegedly picked up some 4,518 kilogrammes of cocaine from airdrops in VI waters, with Beazer and Skelton allegedly assisting in the recovery of the illegal substance.

51 Responses to “UPDATE: Ruling in Bob Hodge & co. extradition hearing March 13!”

  • race matters (23/02/2012, 13:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is just a racist witch hunt
    • egg face (23/02/2012, 21:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      but the Police holding them are black, the crown and prosecutors are black so come again.
      • George W. Tush (24/02/2012, 18:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        the race issue is bigger than who is holding them in the bvi!
        • BAD MAN (24/02/2012, 23:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          • Security Officer (25/02/2012, 02:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            Where do you believe that most of the drugs that end up in Canada, Uk and other big countries pass thru.... still pondering? Yeap that's right The Virgin Islands..... that's why this case is so important, if persons read, they would see that like Mexico the BVI is one of the leading HDTA (High Drug trafficking Area) need i go further? if your son was smoking the stuff like america you would go to columbia to make sure the men producing it is stopped so the drug would not reach your son, You say these men did nothing? they did the big part, they collected it and ensured it entered the US, Kudos boys at least you will be in the warm Florida keys
          • please! (25/02/2012, 12:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            Whatever yall
          • space out (26/02/2012, 19:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            so you blaming the bvi for the drugs in canada and the USA??? how silly
    • lock up (23/02/2012, 23:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      your are right "race matters' I feel sorry for them all, as the Americans seem very determine. For if they cannot get them on drug trafficking and conspiracy to import cocaine or money laundering charges, knowing the US justice system as I do, they will find something to keep them in the pennietenrey…..a place with 75% blacks in the states
  • Bye-Bye (23/02/2012, 14:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Cee-ya! Enjoy your stay in the US, will you be wearing your pants low when you reach?
    • daddy (25/02/2012, 00:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      How you know they going? But your anti backside would not get in none of dem pants whether dem wear it high or low!
  • x (23/02/2012, 14:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    let my people go they did not do any thing !
  • Virgin Son (23/02/2012, 15:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This whole thing is a travesty of justice. They defendants are British overseas territory/EU citizens. Therefore, US Law should not apply here. The USA does not have jurisdiction in the BVI, this is not the USVI people… US and British Laws are different.
    • xcuse (24/02/2012, 18:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      well said but every body palying lawyer...struppssssss
    • Stupid Sah (25/02/2012, 18:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      the US Laws and Iraq Laws are the same? what about Jamaica, South Korea? wellsah, ppl stupid.. it dont matter if the laws the same..
    • Tuffbong33 (27/02/2012, 07:51) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Virgin Son, where is your brain?? You traffic stuff to the U.S., they don't care if tour from Tim-Buc-Tu, your A-- is in the cross hairs of their DEA. Sorry, the BOYZ dem get caught iz all. Man up. Pants up, LOL!
  • Crank Shaft (23/02/2012, 16:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    They going home tomorrow...
  • moses (23/02/2012, 19:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    "let my people go"
    • foarmer brown (24/02/2012, 15:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      trust me the "MAN" will never let them go!
      • sad day for bvi (24/02/2012, 18:05) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        imagine the BVI finest men Chad and Harrigan going to get lock up in the states and we all know what goes on in those prisions...hope they do not drop the soap.
  • open the book (23/02/2012, 22:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The only reason the US wants them if to make them sing like parrots that is all so they can get bigger fishes...but the USA is hypothetical because dem busy sending criminals out of their country all over the Caribbean but still want to take our local boys/men with their nonsense and bull crap. Some body needs to tell the usa go long fast, for we the bvi people can handle our own affairs!!!
    • hazzra (25/02/2012, 01:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      What can u handle? what, looking the other way when certain movements going down? what stretch out your hand for a few more dollars? what, blog bout the senseless killings and now acting as if it ok now? u know that u r incapable when these fellas doing it so long without the long arms of our laws and justice system cant reach them. It's for those whose direct actions has led to the death of so many face deserved justice.
  • depotation (24/02/2012, 07:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Trust me they going stright by uncle sam
    • hot sea (24/02/2012, 16:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Ok OK Magistrate Stevens this was ah tuff one and I would not have like to be in your shoes.....girlfriend you need a long vacation..hope when it comes you sleep well madan Magistrate..your seat realy hot hot hot.
  • DOG MEAT (24/02/2012, 15:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    These men leaving this island soon that all me will say!
  • ReX FeRal (24/02/2012, 16:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    They did a lot of nonsense around here for too long. There is nothing right about what they were involved in. Speak truth to justice regardless of who its for or against. Wait till it hit your son or daughter or mother or father. Paradise lost will be the cry.
  • why? (24/02/2012, 16:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    These BVI prosecutors less less less how come they had to bring back Terence? is that not the same dude that lock up our local boys Allen and Bevis?????...the devil is a busy man......Welllllll saaaaah.
    • THE FISH (24/02/2012, 18:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Mr. Williams did not lock up Bevis and Allen. They did a crime, were found guilty and they had to do the time. They are not above the law. We must let justice has its course. If they have evidence against them, they are going to the USA, period.
  • pray (24/02/2012, 17:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    dammm this is a blow to our locals boys...but i will stay on my knees in prayer
  • mad man (24/02/2012, 22:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The defense has a good augment and if these guys don't go its because of that technicality but trust me these man going, ppl saying they dont have evidence but if u know how an indictment come about its not just talk trust me on that I have seen this first hand with a good friend of my who was involved in some illegal activity and he never once step foot in the USA and his case was bigger than this one by far.
  • liat 521 (24/02/2012, 23:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the jury in the USA would know any of the accused therefore all they will be looking on is the black face and some poor Caribbean country What is being pursued here is injustice....bob dem lawyers need to appeal to the UN as the usa would not rest until are lock up int he states.
  • no justice no peace (24/02/2012, 23:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    the government of the bvi needs to free dem man dem Misson. its clear to all who watching that there is no justice in the BVI...this is worse then the soviet the hell you could have citizens locked up over 6 months and don't have anything concrete...the governemnt has not presented one piece of evidence????? just have them holding for America!!!!. Even the governor should know by now this is absolute rubbish!!!!!! and he is being a victim of bad advise from his legal people, in my opinion. People in the bvi these days are locked up, send home from work, side lined just based on hear say, or who is out to get them, who who does not like them. this is so ridiculous it brings tears to my eyes!!!
    • native boy (26/02/2012, 10:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with the last part of your statement for sure, "no justice no peace"
  • Confucius (25/02/2012, 00:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    All of you who want to protect "our boys" from extradition and prosecution in the U.S. are way out of line. EVERYONE has known for years about this drug ring and it is high time that they are finally being held accountable! It's just a shame that the whole bunch of them aren't going to be extradited. The list is longer than those the U.S. has named. Without U.S. intervention, that despicable drug operation would still be operating without impunity ~ and EVERYONE KNOWS IT! If we were capable of "handling our own affairs" as some of you misguided (and probably criminal) souls claim, this crap would have been ended many years ago. The TRUTH is that corruption is widespread throughout the BVI and has reached even the highest levels of government, including elected representatives who have conveniently turned a blind eye to the BLATANT goings on for a very long time! Even school children know who is who and what these people were doing. It was in our faces for so long that it just became a "given" that all of us had to live with. "IF" there was even ONE elected official who truly believed that the extradition of these men was unwarranted, unreasonable, unfair or in any way unconstitutional ~ they would have spoken up long ago. The men were arrested 6 months ago! You might ask yourselves WHY not one elected official has come forward to oppose their extradition! So go ahead and "pray for our local boys". I will too. But I will be praying for the REAL "boys" in our society and not the THUGS who brought all of this upon themselves, who have disgraced to the BVI over the past 13 years with their disgusting and despicable "business"! March 13th can't come soon enough!
    • making sports (25/02/2012, 01:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      'confucius' your turn will come or that of your children..this case is nothing more than the BVI doing America dirty work!
    • Music (25/02/2012, 06:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I was beginning to wonder when some sense of reality would appear in this blog - so far it seems to be 90% "let our people go" which is ridiculous. Agree with Confucius 100%.
    • Sad State (25/02/2012, 10:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      None of those politicians are that stupid enough to speak out against this. They are wise enough to let the justice systems do their work. I wonder if people here really understand the ramifications of us not cooperating in this matter. At the end of the day all we can say is that these guys knew the consequences of their actions..if you play bad boy games the law will bite you on the a$$$ eventually. Whats' vexing is to see young guys in the best part of their life being put away for a long time.
    • May Not like it but.. (25/02/2012, 18:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      ‘confucius’ is on to something.. How do you explain big truck, heavy equipment, car rental, expensive boats and cars when ppl have no real jobs or their current jobs dont pay this kinda money? How come only one person in some family have so much money and they aint win the lotto. Of course i dont like that these boys will go to jail anywhere cos i know some of them and they are pretty kool. But at the end of the day, if they or anyone else dealing drugs they should suffer the consequences! We see already how drugs are affecting our islands. They no longer pass through.. we see that a lot of it stays here. I would hate to see any of my family looking like some of the addicts we know on the island.
    • Tuffbong33 (27/02/2012, 23:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Confucius: I wish and pray that everyone here was a clear thinker like yourself. They should have extridited them 6 months ago. May the judge do the right thing, and not get bought. Chad, you should have listened to granny Skelton, you knuckle head!
  • hear my cry oh lord (25/02/2012, 02:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If there is evidence that these guys had a drug ring then deal with them in the BVI legal system… other words prosecute them in the BVI. If the governor has faith in our legal system then he will know that we are capable of dealing with our own matters. Why is there this push to send our (four of them local) people to the USA to be prosecuted??? Here again we have no one to look out for local born here BV Islanders. Just like the NDP government this is another web of expats licking our own. The magistrate is form Jamaica, the prosecutor is from Jamaica, the governor form the UK and the police who did the investigation and arrest are all from the islands and the UK, so locals prepare to catch hell for the next four years in the government system, in the legal system for no one to look out for indigenous B V Islanders…how sad
  • Confucius (25/02/2012, 10:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Making Sport ~ with all due respect, give this matter just a tiny bit of thought please. We had THIRTEEN very long years to “handle our own affairs” and the way it was handled was to allow this drug ring to firmly entrench itself in our society, turn a blind eye to it, befriend the kingpin and treat him like some kind of local celebrity. It has been the single biggest disgrace to the BVI EVER! How many people died as a result of this ring? Look at all the unsolved murders in the BVI. If you don’t think that any of those murders had anything to do with this drug ring, you need to remove your rose coloured glasses because you have a serious case of denial going on. Those drug boats raced in and out of Soper’s Hole at all hours of the day and night, right under the noses of customs and immigration. Does anyone honestly believe that we had any intention of handling our own affairs ~ EVER? I thank GOD the U.S. Has FINALLY stepped in! There are still some decent folks left in the BVI and it is about time we had this cancer removed. As for my children, if I were to find out that any of them had anything to do with ANY kind of illegal activity, I would turn them into the police myself and walk away ~ and they KNOW it! My children have been raised knowing the difference between right and wrong, greed and ambition and taking responsibility for your own actions. If you do the crime, you SHOULD do the time. My children have no doubt what I would do if any of them broke the law! They have been told many, many times ~ so please, spare me the “what if it was your family” nonsense. It is our responsibility as parents to instill a sense of honesty in our children. If you are worried about YOUR children getting tangled up with the law, perhaps you might take a little time to help them understand what is right and what is wrong ~ if YOU know the difference yourself!
  • Jtv (25/02/2012, 14:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Time is longer than twine, what is to be will be!
  • shut up (25/02/2012, 18:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    yall neead to shut up cause i dont want them to go cause i will mis my father and his friend
  • school children say (26/02/2012, 00:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So sorry for the people of the British Virgin Islands,Their whole legal system dominated by expatriates,the police force dominated by expatriates,do the maths see what the statics is.wise up people of the B.V.I
  • home boy (26/02/2012, 19:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    bezer my yute you getting fat up the
  • DOUBLE STANDARDS (26/02/2012, 22:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • well sa (27/02/2012, 11:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    hmmm, I wonder what would have happen if things was the other way around? Do u think BVI would have been able to request Americans to be extradited? (even though drugs were in their waters and not the BVI)

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