BVI News

‘Lawyers here need discipline!’ Accused drug offender raises concern about legal costs in BVI

David Straker — one of the four men who has been locked before the court in a drug-related case for the last four years — has raised major concerns about the cost for legal representation in the British Virgin Islands.

“I pay already $108,000 so far. Me alone,” Straker said while addressing the court this week.

“The lawyers here need discipline … Once you go to them, [they say] ‘oh this is a big case!’ This is what we are up against! [My attorney, Marlon] Gordon is the most reasonable lawyer we could find.”

This is why many are locked away

The accused man said he believes the high fees being charged by attorneys in the British Virgin Islands is one of the reasons persons opt not to have any representation when they have brushes with the law.

“That is why so many people in jail. They cannot afford it. That’s what going on in this territory. [They think that] because we got locked up for drugs, we got money. They say drugs got the most money.”

Magistrate shocked

Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards said she was “shocked” by Straker’s revelation.

She said she assumed that trials for drug-related matters would cost in the region of $10,000 when they are held at the lower court.

In response, Straker said: “These lawyers don’t want $10,000 for a trial. These lawyers want to charge you $30,000 for a trial in a $10,000 case. A lot of people don’t understand the pressure that they put people through, you know.”

Straker raised the concerns because his case has reached another standstill. The accused man’s attorney who represents him and two others in the said drug matter has fallen ill and has been unable to represent them in the proceedings this week.

The accused men were therefore presented with a question on whether to move forward without their attorney, Gordon. Straker begged the court for some time to seek representation.

“I think you could let us have a good Christmas and a happy New Year,” he told the Magistrate.

Fourth accused man wants his case severed from the rest

As the fourth accused man who has separate legal representation, an application has been made for his case to be severed from Straker and the other two co-accused men.

The application argued that he was being affected because of constant delays in the four year-old-case. The Crown objected to their application.

The court is now set to rule on whether severance will be permitted. Magistrate Richards is scheduled to hand down that decision on December 6.

The four accused men Straker, Donald George, Lindon Chiverton, and Anderson Flax was allegedly caught at sea with 80 kilograms of cocaine more than three years ago. Flax is the only one who has different attorneys from his other three co-accused.

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  1. ..... says:

    Sounds like hogwash. I would take the work lf Straker with a pinch of salt.

    Like 3
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    • Protection says:

      You all deserve everything you get and what you don’t. Every country in the first world has consumer protection laws that would prevent over charging. However when the ones in charge reap the benefit of no consumer protection then the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the Territory remains Third World. You all enjoy yourselves in your paradise. Lmao

  2. Discipline is joke says:

    Discipline is joke as the entire judicial system is a joke. The magistrates, judges, prosecutors, police etc. know for a fact how many innocent persons due to lack of knowledge of the law and how to represent yourself in court and financial difficulties in obtaining legal counsel. Many individuals have criminal records and convicted for crimes they are innocent for but the judicial system dont care as they are going by the books. Dont worry, they think they are noble elites but really are legal criminals that will soon fall of their high horses. Magistrate is shocked hmphh… she best stop being naive as cronies of a feather defend each other.

    Like 22
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  3. Online Now says:

    You have to feel sorry for the (alleged) drug dealers that they can’t make enough money to pay their lawyers.

    He managed to find $108k though, if innocent, he must have a very good job …

    Couldn’t make this stuff up …

    Like 16
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  4. Da is da price! says:

    Why should lawyers be different from contractors? Squeeze as much as you can out of the customer.

    Like 8
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  5. well says:

    Flax you are an embarrassment! The the cheek of this guy! You never hear to put aside for a rainy day!??

  6. Observer says:

    The message from the accusers should be. Stay away from the drug trade, if you don’t have a bank account, tell all your friends, family and your children not to go down this road. I am learning the hard way. Give them an amen.

    Like 17
  7. hmmm says:

    I think a thorough investigation needs to be performed to see where the $108,000 came from? (To the last cent).

    Like 8
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  8. The Nation says:

    While it is true that the Disciplinary Committee needs to be more functional. The State has a responsibility to provide free public defenders or legal aid for those who cannot afford a lawyer.
    You can’t blame a lawyer for charging those fees fro DRUG cases…whether the drug case is in the lower court or not, it still involves A LOT OF LEGAL WORK…Mr. Straker stop to think of his actions which led the police to reasonably believe that he committed a crime. Or has he stopped to look at the special facts of the accusation made by the Crown? what he needs to do is petition the Government for paid public defenders and more support from the legal aid board.

  9. Agreed says:

    I agree that lawyers fees are exorbitant. And it is not only drug pushers who need a lawyer. Some of us become victims because we can’t afford a lawyer to go against corrupt offenders.

  10. T Gomez says:

    David Straker need to shut the h**l up. he is a man … reaping the benefits of the Virgin Islands…

  11. Bile says:

    Eff david strake p**k f****t a**.

  12. Road Town Ghost says:

    This boy has some nerves. why did he not discipline himself …? P**k a** setting a good example for nine children to follow. Now talking S**t.

  13. Bass says:

    Bass These lawyers charge $300 to $500 per hour plus clerical and administrative fees. So when they are finish its going to square up to a about $1000 an hour. That is exorbitant even for a druggist.

    Like 5
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  14. Ausar says:

    “Bass, you are mistaken!

    I think its more like two grand an hour. This is why rich perpetrators of offenses, can get away, while their victims-especially if theyre not deeply moneyed-, suffer.

    Justice in the court system of the BVI, is deep-pocketed!

    And what’s so sad, no one, not even the Bar Association, can do anything about it!

  15. And domestic abuse cases says:

    This is also a problem when a person is trying to leave a marriage where they are being controlled and abused. Often the abuser controls the money. This means the victim is unable to afford a lawyer and ends up getting a very raw deal in the divorce settlement or can not afford to force payment of child support through the courts.

  16. Smh says:

    I don’t want hear Straker complaining, when he was eating big he didn’t complain, your complaint is not the real issue, the issue is me as young person can’t afford or get a loan land or housing, but if I go the bank for a vehicle loan, I’ll get it in no time, some of us young people trying to live an honest life out here and you complaining about lawyer fees when you had 108 k to put up, where that money really come from??smh no we don’t have that kind of money Straker, you’re not the first with that kind of bill and surely not the last.

    Like 2
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