The legal strategy for former Premier Andrew Fahie involved a risky shot at convincing jurors that he was acting out a real-life version of the fictional CIA spy character, Jason Bourne.
Fahie’s attorney, Theresa Van Vliet, pressed ahead with the Bourne defence despite numerous inconsistencies in the narrative, telling jurors Fahie was concerned that the British didn’t like him and that he secretly agreed to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to unravel a UK government plot to remove him from office as Premier.
Those promised bribes were made to Fahie and his co-accused, former BVI Port Authority Managing Director Oleanvine Maynard, so they could provide safe harbour and unhindered passage for thousands of kilos of cocaine through the BVI that was destined for the United States.
Maynard helped prosecutors show jurors that there was no truth behind Fahie’s Bourne spy character defence, spending hours testifying about secret recordings of Fahie agreeing with the plan and receiving advanced payments to sweeten the deal.
Fahie showed no emotion as all twelve jurors rejected his Bourne strategy and returned guilty verdicts for each of the four counts he faced — conspiracy to import more than five kilograms of cocaine, conspiracy to engage in money laundering, attempted money laundering, and foreign travel in aid of racketeering.
The former Premier was then led away from the courtroom to the Federal Detention Center next door after being ordered by the judge to surrender to prison immediately. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29 — just one day past the date he was arrested two years ago.
We acknowledge the verdict
Meanwhile, the government released a brief late-night statement, that said it “noted the verdict which was reached” at the end of Fahie’s trial.
“The government and people of the British Virgin Islands respect the role of the court in the administration of justice,” the statement read. “As a jurisdiction, the British Virgin Islands is committed to good governance and upholding the highest standards of integrity in public life.”
The statement ended with an assurance that the government would continue efforts to strengthen relevant systems and institutions of government to ensure the BVI’s integrity is maintained and its international reputation is upheld.
There was also an acknowledgement of the impact of the verdict on Fahie’s family.
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