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No extradition | Hodge, Harrigan wins court appeal

Earl ‘Bob’ Hodge

Earl ‘Bob’ Hodge and former Customs Officer Roberto ‘Tico’ Harrigan have been released and will not be extradited to the United States.

High Court Judge Godfrey Smith gave that ruling today, June 29.

Back in November 2017, Magistrate Shawn Innocent had ruled in favour of the US Justice Department to extradite Hodge and Harrigan from the British Virgin Islands.

However, the embattled duo appealed the decision, and today received a favourable result from the High Court.

While announcing his decision at the High Court Registry in Road Town, Judge Smith listed a few reasons neither men should be extradited.

He said Hodge is a BVI citizen and Harrigan a Belonger. And, should the men be made to answer to the allegations against them, the BVI is the ‘appropriate forum for trial of the alleged offences’.

He noted the alleged offences are ‘of BVI nature’ and both men can be ‘effectively tried here’.

The judge also said, if extradited, Hodge and Harrigan are likely to receive ‘long’ and ‘disproportionate sentences’.

Unjust and oppressive to extradite duo

He further reasoned Hodge and Harrigan are likely to suffer ‘prejudice from the US system based on their race’.

Judge Smith then pointed to the number of years the duo has been hauled before the courts. He agreed the men’s trial has been ‘unnecessarily delayed’ by the three extradition attempts by the US. During these attempts, Hodge and Harrigan had to endure alternating periods of freedom and remand.

“All of these circumstances make out an overwhelming case that, at this junction, it would be unjust and oppressive to extradite them to the United States,” Judge Smith ruled.

He further said the extradition would infringe on their constitutional rights.

Queen’s Counsel Edward Fitzgerald represented Hodge while defence attorneys Patrick Thompson and Ben Cooper represented Harrigan.

Background

As mentioned, this was the latest of three attempts that the United States made to have the two men extradited.

Initially, they were seeking to extradite four. The other two men were Carlston Beazer and Chad Skelton. In the year 2012, then High Court judge Justice Albert Redhead ruled that the men were NOT to be sent to the United States.

Following that ruling, the prosecution obtained new evidence against the four men, and then Governor Boyd McCleary issued an Order for a second extradition hearing to take place.

The four men, through their attorneys, challenged the Governor’s order through a judicial review, which was heard by Justice Vicki Ann Ellis. Justice Ellis ruled in 2015 against the Governor’s Office Order to have the second extradition hearing.

All four initially sought were then released from police custody in late 2015, after they spent more than three years behind bars trying to fight the extradition requests in court.

The quartet, in the meantime, was slapped with local charges. But the prosecution dropped those while it pursued the extradition matter without success.

The US accuses them of participating in a Caibbean-based drug trafficking organisation that transported cocaine by plane and boat from Venuzuela and areas in South America to Caribbean islands, Central America, and parts of the US.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

90 Comments

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  1. Rubber Duck says:

    Money talks, the client walks.

  2. Seriously ?? says:

    Makes me sick to my stomach. All the lives these — wrecked because of —- —- for money with serious alleged drug smuggling. And now the judge plays the “race” card. SHAME SHAME SHAME

    • Albion says:

      A sad day for law enforcement. Hope the DPP appeals to the Court of Appeal.

    • vg crew says:

      hope when your family get locked up u feel the feel the same way

    • I read says:

      Race card? Did you read the decision? So ignorant.

      • Seriously ?? says:

        @ I read -‘prejudice from the US system based on their race’. Umm, yes I read it. Did you? Not ignorant, just don’t understand the thinking of the judge.

        • Janice says:

          So when the next American shows up to spend money in the BVI. I dare you to say no thank you and accuse them of being racist. America is NOT racist.

          • CW says:

            You are correct. The US is not racist. But the vast majority of the US just ial and criminal system is- and there are vast amounts of statistics to prove it. One only needs to Google it and you will find literally tens of thousands of cases impacted by racism in the US.

          • Joe says:

            Since when America is not racist? LOL.

          • vg crew says:

            janice. janice.what planet do u live on.

          • vg crew says:

            I live in America and it is one of the most racist place to be in.

          • Theo says:

            The BVI is the archetypal free and open society then?

          • American Girl with BVI Heritage says:

            It’s funny that many of you are here bashing Janice about America being racist yet every chance some of YOU same people get y’all every minute taking your butts to the same AMERICA INCLUDING THE AMERICAN VIRGIN ISLANDS! Yes, America like any other nation has its faults just like everywhere else but be real. Like one person said “If you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones!”

          • SB says:

            Amerikkka under trump is the most RACIST it has been since the 60’s. You must be an Aunty Tom.

    • Tric says:

      The judge is right though. Where is the white lawyer who was found by police in the Village cay area snorting coke? If you think race don’t play a role do some research and tell us what you come up with.

    • Tellitall says:

      You dummy what rock you been under !! People like you is why the place like this!! You sellout🐟😔😔

  3. Nick says:

    Very good publicity for the bvi around the world,we not only hide your dirty money,we also let go the alleged c———.

    • Stupes says:

      You need to read some international news if you think the BVI is an exception. The BVI has the lease of those type of situations.

      • CW says:

        Wrong. It’s called the Caribbean Drug corridor for a reason lol. The BVI has been a a massive international smuggling and money laundering Hun for decades. Do you think it’s coincidence that the UK wants financial transparency from BVI? It’s to stop sh*t like this. Be proud of the BVI but not blind to it’s areas needing improvement.

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    • Kinte says:

      I am not siding with the two guys for I don’t condone the trafficking of anything other than Ganja.
      But a little note. The U.S. does not extradite her citizens to other countries.

  4. Bull Dawg says:

    Thank God they are freed.
    I hope they keep their head on.
    I hope the will just have to pay a fine since they spend so much time in jail.

  5. ABOUT TIME. says:

    HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS. THAT’S FOR ALL YOU STINKING F…… HATERS!!! TAKE THAT!!!

  6. Trump says:

    There goes the currency

  7. Ya Think? says:

    What the BVI just said to the world is: “come on down, be born here, and you can get away with anything you want” … Totally absurd. Wonder who paid the —-?

    • Stupes says:

      what about the guy who left his kid a dew months ago was he born here. If it was the US he would have been charged. you all always riding this born here thing. And I am not been judge or Jury.

      • BVIslander says:

        You darn right. Although it was the most logical judgement imo for the Dad. God bless him, but could you imagine if he the father was born here what THE TALK would have been like. It does not matter!!! There are many times, when we as BVIslander get indifferent treatment too and whats worst, it is usually from fellow BVIslanders.

        With that said, Im glad they are free. US don’t like to turn over their people, so why should anyone else. Their God will judge them and all of us. Just hope that we can all confess of all our sins and change before it is too late, including me.

        • Expat says:

          That man should have been charged. He breached his duty of care to his daughter and caused her death. I wouldn’t even call him a dad. The decision to not charge him was lazy and hints at incompetent authorities in the BVI.

          They need to check him out good as he’s walking around just fine in this BVI. God does not sleep islanders.

        • Eye Above says:

          You all dishing out sympathies for this dad not knowing all the details. Logical judgment does not mean just judgment. The BVI continues to be lawless and unjust to the innocent and sympathetic to wrong doers.

          Too late, too late shall be the cry

      • Albion says:

        Actually he is not born here, although he has lived here a long time. I believe he is Jamaican originally.

      • Anonymous says:

        you have to understand we both have 2 different court systems and some laws are not applicable here like jay walking. The US has their system and the British has theirs..

    • Brad Boynes says:

      What’s your moot point about born here? Harrigan was not born here. That decision will set a precedence that will be hard to change.

      • BVIslander says:

        Take time to READ the flow of conversation for Pete’s sake before you post. No one was talking about Harrigan or Bob in that context.

        • Brad Boynes says:

          I really find give a rats a– where z tone boend. The Jamaican dad and this case are two different cases.

      • read says:

        Roberto can trace his fathers roots here more than three generation and he was not who we were referring too. He is one of us.

      • Kinte says:

        The two of them are basically confined to the B.V.I.
        If they leave for another island they would be crazy to do so or even to sneak back into the U.S.V.I. SO they should stay in the B.V.I and if they were smart they still have quite a few dollars left. As far as precedent the U.S. and others like Israel do not extradite their citizens to other countries. Isreal for example will not send their citizens to the U.S. no matter the charge so while I disagree with any alleged trafficking of coke the B.V.I. isunder no obligation to send her extradite her citizens to the U.S. let them send the information to the B.V.I. and let them face trial there.

    • Lilly says:

      Stupid comment. Roberto was not “born here”. You are brain washed. That judge has been around and pays attention.

    • Tellitall says:

      BVI set a trend !!! You aint coming in our country to cage up our people . Trying to destabilise the Caribbean take all the people that put food in the communities!!! It done today.

  8. vg crew says:

    stay s–k u p–k a– b—–

  9. dream on! says:

    Again, the so called justice system prevails. Disgusting!

  10. 008 says:

    Sends about the worst message to or youth. Play the ‘race’ card and the rest will follow.

  11. Retired says:

    The warrants for these 2 alleged drug smugglers still stand with the US Dept. of Justice so I guess they won’t be making any personal visits to the USVI, PR, USA or any other US territory for the rest of their lives. Better not get too injured or ill that would require medical evacuation to a nearby first world country.

    Also any property owned or connected to these 2 alleged drug smugglers that enter US waters can be seized by ICE

    • Stupes says:

      Is the US the only place that has good medical facilities. Cuba has some of the best. America has us brainwashed.

      • CW says:

        If you have a medical emergency you want to go to STT, not f*cking Cuba, MUCH further away. You might die before getting to either but your chances are best going across the channel. Cuba has you brainwashed lol. Makes about as much sense as your comment. And you calling out Stupes at others hahahahaha. I would visit the closet mirror and reevaluate

  12. true says:

    Perhaps — will become kingpin again and all the problems the BVI has has since — arrest will fade away, no young guns shooting up the place as the —- is back in town. Think about it for 13 years they watched and all was calm in Tortola, they arrested and suddenly all hell broke loose on Tola!

  13. Comic says:

    Well, the EU and UK can kill our financial services now that our third pillar is safe again – welcome back Bob.

  14. Mankinde says:

    Dont breakdown…yall drift to much.

  15. Ms. L says:

    Yes free them. YES YES YES🎉

  16. Advocate says:

    While I have little doubt the men are guilty of the alleged offenses there conviction never depended upon the court of public opinion. If it did many of us would have been falsely imprisoned.

    With that said, I agree with the court’s decision regardless.of my personal opinion. One of the accused is a BVI Citizen and the other a Belonger. If it was the other way around, the US would have never extritied it citizen to another country to stand trial though I can’t say if this would be the case with Mr. Harrigan had he had the same status in the USA he now has in the BVI.

    While the court’s decision make seem unfair or unjust, the justice system is there to protect us all and any decision by the court in considering such matters, must take into account the rights of the individuals as prescribed by the appropriate international Human Rights Charter which is there to protect our individual rights and freedoms.

    • True says:

      @adocate, you got that right. They have not extradite Amanda Knox to Italy yet, how many years is that now and she was convicted of murder in that country.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Patrick Thompson is the man! Excellent lawyer!

  18. THANOS “I hope they remember you” says:

    This why they want to cripple us HA! Money 💰 talks BS walk. KEYS always open doors. Facts

  19. Slick says:

    US is the most diverse country in the world but you successfully played the race card to keep these guys out of trouble. well done!

  20. Humble pie says:

    Justice has been served. All who has negativity (aka Jealousy) pouring out in their comments, should all remember it is easy for the shoe to be on the other foot. This was not about Race card or born here as some think, but a restatement and accurate description of the US justice system. The high court nudge had the balls to say it like it is. And for you a–hole, ICE CANNOT sieze sh-t that belongs to these individuals even if it tied up to a dock on the Potomac (if you know where that is), as there is no judgment of conviction in any court against these men. And all you a–es crying about drugs, go read some history and see where ah you Queen Victoria was sending British war ships to bring O-IUM from China back to the UK so she and her socmiety friends could sell and soke. And read up on the Boxer rebellion in China. Bye

    • Retired says:

      Incorrect. RICO 1970 is a US federal law that permits seizure of any assets in US waters/ jurisdiction well before any trial, conviction or sentence. The feds can just swoop in any time and freeze and seize any assets especially any assets that could be moved out of their jurisdiction after an arrest warrant is issued. No more speed boat or ferry boat trips to the USVI and PR.

    • CW says:

      ICE can and does this every day. Read a book, watch the news, or just pay attention to the world around you. Lack of education and modern access to world knowledge cripples the BVI.

  21. Al Capone says:

    How much are the judges there?

  22. Rubber Duck says:

    There may be some reason to deny the USA in its quest to rule the entire world and force their “ justice “ on everyone else.

    But why are these two not tried here?

  23. Wendy says:

    Will be interesting to see the next move by the USA. A spouse in the mix is a US citizen and is currently incarcerated on some manner of involvement.
    I salute the decision but have concerns , Considering the VI’s proximity to the USVI and the understanding that a joint effort against drug and its filtering to the US mainland is in effect,the decision could, perhaps,nullify this understanding and cast the VI as an accessory.

    What to expect?

    A US military invasion?
    An extradition request for the spouse?
    Anti VI propaganda?
    Another direct hit by “natural”created in the lab weather occurence and/or disease outbreak?

    Sit tight.

    • Island girl says:

      too many conspiracy theories Wendy

    • CW says:

      US invasion? You are out of your mind, lol
      Extradition request? Absolutely. And they will send her if she is a US citizen.
      Anti VI propaganda? Nah, you all do enough of that in these comments lol
      A direct hit by “natural” created in a lab?
      I think you been hanging out with — and sampling the goods. OUT OF YOUR MIND lol.

      Seriously??!!😂

    • Joe says:

      An invasion. Like Panama’s Noriega.

      LOL.

  24. Donald T says:

    OK guys. Now don’t be surprised when we put you on our black list. Ban your companies, deny you entry, advise US citizens not to go there.

  25. DJS says:

    The race card hits again. It’s played more by those at the top to infuriate the voters– not because it’s true. Yea’mo welcome to the islands. New catchphrase in the islands– come back– come back to Jamaica mon. Your system is so rigged in BVI’s. Don’t you see it?

    • Seems to me says:

      That you are pertubed by the evidence the people in these parts are becoming Woke.
      Well it is about time. They are tardy for the party but they will arrive.
      Suggest you drown your wypipo tears in a cocktail aboard the Willy T.

    • Island girl says:

      Race card? Did you read the decision? So ignorant.

  26. Curse says:

    The BVI will bring God’s curse on the land if we are not careful – it is like we have not learned anything from IRMA

  27. Seems to me says:

    That you are pertubed by the evidence the people in these parts are becoming Woke.
    Well it is about time. They are tardy for the party but they will arrive.
    Suggest you drown your wypipo tears in a cocktail aboard the Willy T.

  28. What? says:

    Say it ain’t so doc. Or pay us back all dat monies you wasted..

  29. global says:

    the court is right. the court did not say they could not get trial again, it just said if you wish to do it, better it is done here. if the US have creditable evidence to indict these men then they will have no problem getting a guilty verdict. Just my opinion tho.

  30. Windy says:

    so wrong. so 4th world. they better sleep with one eye open. could end up in U S waters

  31. El Chapo says:

    Jolly good show,let the economy rebirth begin !!

  32. dt says:

    lets see. Judge thinks they’ll get a long sentence if extradited. Hello! judge– one of these guys is a customs agent in our country– a person of authority and he’s allegedly crooked (don’t care what his color is or nationality). He is allegedly dealing drugs and part of it allegedly was dealt in the US. So OK get your punishment in the BVI’s for what they allegedly did in BVI. OK get it but stop the crying Judge– your suppose to be for YOUR people/country. My gosh what is wrong? better still what is going on in our gov’t. “worried about a long sentence? really! there k——- our kids!!!

  33. concerned citizen says:

    Is a decision like this cause a relationship conflict with USA in some way? I hope we are not protecting these guys from there faith, after all they made there own beds by allegedly committing serious crimes abroad. This will affect us in the near future. just saying.

  34. Buff-baff says:

    If those two men are guilty of what they have been charged for, then they have violated the laws of the BVI. Can someone tell me which US law, enforceable in the BVI, did they violate? If they violated local laws they should have been tried locally. With Trump in the White House stirring up racial hatred against immigrants and non-whites, and with him stocking the justice system with judges who seem to share his views, those men wouldn’t have gotten a fair trial. So many of those cases involving black people are tried with all-white jury that recommended lengthy jail time, or no compensation even when they are wronged. No Caribbean country should extradite any national or resident to the US for prosecution unless the alleged crime was committed on US soil. The judge made the right decision. The DPP will do better the next time a similar case comes up.

    • CW says:

      Smuggling drugs into the US or it’s waters is illegal and an extraditable offense around the world. That doesn’t mean they always should, especially in this case. But to ask what laws they broke enforceable in BVI is not how that works. Any country they operated in could ask for and in some cases get them extradited. Basic stuff if you read more than a poorly written news article.

  35. To Tico says:

    This is another chance. Stop messing around and follow the Lord’s calling on your life.

  36. Eagle Eye. says:

    Not so fast. Might be free locally. But they have something else coming. Time will tell all…..

  37. tola says:

    Yes leave our people alone mr hodge is a good person bless up yuh self bob …….more blessings to you we minding the talk haterz will always hate

  38. Rodloph says:

    So what’s going to happen to Harrigan seeing that he wasn’t born here will they send him back home

  39. Anonymous says:

    Who i hell that knows a tea spoon of history and have actually experienced authentic racism in America could be so out of touch as write that, America is not racist.? Got to be a very unexposed person, or one in deep, deep denial of history and present day reality.

  40. Kudos says:

    to the judge for his right and prudent verdict. He/she was absolutely correct in his/her deliberations.

    And no, i do not know the two gentlemen.

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