On-leave DPP’s legal team awaiting disclosure to plot path forward

The attorney and Jamaican national (right) was arrested on Saturday upon arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport and later charged with conspiracy and fraudulent conversion (Photo courtesy Tanesha Mundle / The Gleaner)
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The legal team representing Antigua and Barbuda’s on-leave Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Anthony Armstrong, is said to be awaiting disclosure before plotting the path forward in defending the embattled attorney.

Armstrong was arrested on arrival to his native Jamaica over the weekend, and faces charges in relation to his involvement in the ‘questionable’ sale of three properties – owned by a former client – approximately 20 years ago.

“I am unable to make any comment because we have not yet gotten disclosure, but our client is here [and] he is ready to defend himself in this matter, and we will await the necessary papers from the court.

“So, we are just awaiting what the prosecution has [before] we really know our next move,” one of Armstrong’s attorneys, Lina Wright, told a local media house in Jamaica this week.

Back in January of this year, Armstrong was found guilty of professional misconduct by the General Legal Council (GLC) in Jamaica, which has disciplinary responsibility for practising attorneys.

It is alleged by Michael Adams, the man who brought the accusations against Armstrong, that the attorney fraudulently sold three properties owned by him, having represented him in their purchase between 1999 and 2002.

According to Adams, he was incarcerated in the US soon after the final property was acquired, before making inquiries and learning that they had been sold and their ownership transferred without his consent.

The GLC reprimanded Armstrong for signing as a witness to the sale of the properties, knowing that Adams – who was at the time imprisoned in the US – could not have been present.

The attorney, who was granted leave to travel to Jamaica to face the body, returned to his role a few months later while awaiting the outcome of an appeal.

He has again been granted leave to face the charges, which reportedly include conspiracy and fraudulent conversion, and Shannon Jones-Gittens – a senior crown counsel for more than 12 years – has been appointed Acting DPP in his absence.

Legal Affairs Minister, Steadroy Benjamin, has apparently expressed confidence that Jones-Gittens will do well in her new role and referred to her appointment as a ‘return to normality’ at the office of the DPP, amid the drama surrounding Armstrong.

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