‘I lost mil­lions,’ says Basil Waite af­ter ac­quit­tal

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS -

FOR­MER OP­PO­SI­TION Se­na­tor Basil Waite says he lost mil­lions of dol­lars in busi­ness deals while await­ing trial on a sin­gle cor­rup­tion charge.

Waite was ac­quit­ted of at­tempt­ing to per­vert the course of jus­tice in the Kingston and St An­drew Parish Court yes­ter­day af­ter pros­e­cu­tors told a judge they were of­fer­ing no fur­ther ev­i­dence against him.

He was ar­rested and charged by the Ma­jor Or­gan­ised Crime and Anti-Cor­rup­tion Agency in Oc­to­ber 2014 for al­legedly try­ing to in­flu­ence the out­come of a cor­rup­tion case by tele­phon­ing a busi­ness­man who was a wit­ness in the case.

Waite, who was an ad­viser to for­mer lo­cal govern­ment min­is­ter Noel Arscott, said he was un­able to close “cer­tain busi­ness deals” with over­seas part­ners be­cause, as part of his bail con­di­tions, he was not able to leave the is­land.

“Peo­ple have also ques­tioned do­ing busi­ness with me be­cause when they Google [my name] that’s what they see ... the head­lines from [my ar­rest in] Oc­to­ber 2014,” he told The Gleaner.

“It has sti­fled many op­por­tu­ni­ties. The two years have had a tremen­dous im­pact men­tally and also in terms of my pro­fes­sional pur­suits,” Waite added.

WIT­NESS DIDN’T KNOW WAITE

Waite was freed shortly af­ter the trial got un­der way. Pros­e­cu­tors de­cided to aban­don their case min­utes af­ter the main wit­ness gave ev­i­dence.

Ac­cord­ing to Waite’s at­tor­ney, Va­lerie Neita-Robert­son, the wit­ness tes­ti­fied that he had a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with her client, but ac­knowl­edged that he did not know the for­mer se­na­tor be­fore and that the con­ver­sa­tion was brief.

“To es­tab­lish that the per­son he was speak­ing to was Basil Waite, he would have had to be fa­mil­iar with Basil Waite’s voice. He was not so fa­mil­iar with Mr Waite’s voice,” she ex­plained.

In ad­di­tion, Neita-Robert­son said the charge of at­tempt­ing to per­vert the course of jus­tice re­quired pros­e­cu­tors to prove that when Waite tele­phoned the busi­ness­man, he knew that the case was be­fore the courts and that he asked him to do some­thing that was un­law­ful.

“They couldn’t es­tab­lish any of that,” she un­der­scored.

Neita-Robert­son said pros­e­cu­tors asked for, and re­ceived, a short ad­journ­ment to con­tem­plate their next move be­fore in­form­ing Parish Judge Vaughn Smith of their de­ci­sion to of­fer no fur­ther ev­i­dence against the for­mer se­na­tor.

Waite said he has been hum­bled by his ex­pe­ri­ence.

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