Scott Hapgood when he was in Anguilla for a previous preliminary enquiry.
ANGUILLA–Attorney General Dwight Horsford has made a statement in reference to Scott Hapgood’s absence from the planned court hearing on Monday, November 11. He said the bail conditions required him to return but a letter e-mailed late on November 10 from Hapgood’s legal team notified the magistrate that they had advised their client not to return to Anguilla.
Horsford said, “The letter further stated that this advice rested on concerns for their client’s safety and the fairness of the judicial process in Anguilla. Both concerns are totally groundless. Following Hapgood’s failure to appear in Court the presiding magistrate adjourned for a further hearing. At that hearing, he will make a final determination of the matter at hand. In consequence of this wilful defiance of the High Court Order, a bench warrant will be sought from the High Court Judge for his arrest. When this is shortly obtained this will be circulated through INTERPOL to police forces around the world. The bail bond of EC $200,000 has been forfeited. Other formal processes will now commence regarding Hapgood, who is now a fugitive. The Crown remains determined to progress this case. It will do so – as it has since proceedings started – objectively, fairly, with full regard for the rule of law and the principles of natural justice, including the presumption of innocence. Hapgood’s decision to abscond will not allow him to evade justice.”
After reading the attorney general’s statement, Governor Tim Foy said he agreed with the attorney general that reasons for Hapgood’s failure to return as set out in the letter are groundless.
“Anguillians are a law-abiding and peaceful people as clearly evidenced during his previous court appearances. He should share my confidence in the Royal Anguilla Police Force and the arrangements made for his return – arrangements which his own legal team and visiting State Department officials complimented during his previous appearances,” Foy said.
The governor went on to say that Hapgood should have no reason to be concerned about the public mood in Anguilla. “Claims made by his advisors and supporters of ‘growing unrest’ because of this matter simply defy belief. Nothing could be further from the truth. I invite those making or repeating these fabrications – including those in public office – to acquaint themselves with the facts by visiting us. They are welcome any time to enjoy the peace, serenity and calm of our island as thousands of visitors do every year.”
The fairness of the judicial process and respect for the rule of law are paramount in Anguilla, the governor noted. “He should share my confidence in the integrity, impartiality and independence of the court,” he said. “Throughout this process we have kept a respectful silence to enable the court to go about its business – this is how we do things here. We have not and will not engage in public relations shenanigans of the type we have seen – that is not how we do things. Hapgood has the right to fair judicial process and he will receive that. I understand an arrest warrant is now being requested.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/92418-update-hapgood-fails-to-return-for-hearing-on-monday