Minister of Legal Affairs, Steadroy Benjamin, has expressed confidence in the abilities of Shannon Jones-Gittens who has been appointed to act as Director of Public Prosecutions following Anthony Armstrong’s arrest in Jamaica last weekend on charges of conspiracy and fraudulent conversion.
The position of DPP became vacant after Armstrong left Antigua and Barbuda on Saturday to meet with police in Jamaica for questioning over his role in the disputed sale of three properties 18 years ago which belonged to a former client of his who was incarcerated in the United States.
The allegations concerning the sale of the properties were first raised when Armstrong’s former client lodged a complaint against the attorney with the Disciplinary Committee of Jamaica’s General Legal Council (GLC) in 1999.
While the GLC did not determine wrongdoing on Armstrong’s part in the matter of the sale of the properties, they did find that Armstrong was guilty of professional misconduct as he affixed his signature to a legal document as a witness in the absence of the person for whom he bore witness.
On Monday, considering the recent developments, Attorney General Benjamin gave his full endorsement to Senior Crown Counsel Jones-Gittens.
“She has been there for some twelve years, she is absolutely competent and a talented young lady who we believe will be able to do a fantastic job in the interim,” Minister Benjamin said.
He explained that Jones-Gittens appointment to the position of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions was in the process of being confirmed, however, based on recent developments, the Senior Crown Counsel will act as DPP.
“I am confident, having discussed the matter with all the legal luminaries in the state and other authorities, that she’s quite capable of handling this position,” the AG stated.
Concerning the legal quagmire in which Armstrong has found himself, Benjamin said his office will be obligated to act in light of what has transpired in Jamaica.
He did not, however, reveal the specifics of the case as it is now sub judice, or before the court and therefore prohibited from public discussion.
Attorney General Benjamin did disclose, however, that it is likely that at least two people may be required to travel to Jamaica to give evidence in the matter.
Armstrong was granted bail on Monday following his arrest on the weekend in the sum of J$500,000.
Parish Judge Venise Blackstock-Murray, sitting in the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Court will rule tomorrow on whether Armstrong’s passport, which was seized on his arrest, will be returned to him.