BVI News

US fisherman allowed to go home after four months in BVI prison

Michael Foy near his fishing vessel. (Photo taken from Kelly K Foy’s Facebook)

A United States fisherman who has spent four months at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut was last week released after Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin ordered him to pay a $4,000 fine.

The fisherman, Michael Foy was charged with illegal entry, arriving at a place other than a Customs port, and operating an unlicensed or unregulated fishing vessel.

He initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. However, the judge later dismissed the fishing charge while Foy pleaded guilty to the other two.

Last Wednesday, Magistrate Benjamin handed down her sentence for the two remaining charges, ruling that Foy was free to leave the territory after paying a .
the $4,000 fine.

The 60-year-old fisherman was arrested in June near Norman Island. His boat, the Rebel, was impounded and is in danger of forfeiture as prosecutors sought to have a $511,000 fine laid against him for illegal entry.

For the charge of illegal entry, Magistrate Benjamin decided to forego a fine and imposed a four-month custodial sentence, counting the four months that he had already served.

If Foy does not pay the $4,000 fine by November 10, he will be back put back in prison for an additional six months.

While Foy was being detained, his family in the United States had alleged the fisherman had been mistreated by BVI officials.


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  1. Careful.............. says:

    The lack of consistency and uneven punishment across the board in this country is ridiculous. Everything, despite law related guidelines and statutes, seem to be so randomly and unevenly applied it is truly frightening. At one moment an individual gets hammered for the pettiest of crimes, and another given a slap on the hand for the most egregious!

    Why is it that regardless of colour, creed, religion, or citizenship that the ‘legal system’ cannot be more even and consistent?

    Like 27
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    • Yawn says:

      There is nothing outrageous about this particular punishment. He plead guilty to 2 charges. If he plead guilty months ago instead of dragging it on he probably wouldn’t have slept much in jail.

      Like 4
      Dislike 10
  2. Oh Wow!!! says:

    Prosecutors sought to have a $511,000 fine laid against him for illegal entry, doesn’t that seem extremely excessive?

    Like 30
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    • Rubber Duck says:

      But if you walk about with an illegal gun you get bail. Wrong color Mr Fisherman. For the Zimbabvi.

      Like 15
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      • GTFOH says:

        Why would you offer a non resident, someone with no ties to the BVI bail during a fluent curfew period. This is a consistent action by the Court to not offer bail in these cases. Nothing to do with color.

        Like 1
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    • Cavid says:

      He didn’t have enough melanin. That was his mistake.

  3. HUH! says:

    Meanwhile the DPP is still thinking about how to sell the fish!

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
  4. Earl says:

    What happened to the boat ?

  5. ok says:

    Now after a 4 month sentence he must be deported and by being deported he can no longer gain entry to the BVI. This means he can no longer get round the JONAS act by clearing into the BVI.

    Keep himout of BVI waters and by that I mean the fishing grounds 200 miles off the back of Anegada.

    Like 2
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  6. Why? says:

    Why can’t we have proper journalism? What happened about the slaves he had on board? What was it he actually did and didn’t do right/wrong? What’s the status of illegal and unsustainable fishing in or via our waters? This article tells us next to nothing.

    Like 3
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  7. Blind says:

    Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

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