Charges dropped against former premier

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: Following an investigation of sexual assault allegations against former premier Michael Misick by an American woman, Attorney General Kurt DeFreitas has announced that charges will not be filed.

DeFreitas said after careful consideration of all evidence gathered by local police, who were assisted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), there was a lack of sufficient evidence to file charges against Misick.

Misick was accused of sexually assaulting the woman on March 27, 2008, when she visited his home. He denied the allegations.

DeFreitas said there were several factors which resulted in authorities dropping the case.

“The onus is on the Crown to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the complainant did not consent to sexual activity or that Mr. Misick had no reasonable belief that she was consenting. The evidence included eyewitnesses present when sexual behaviour took place, including that which involved Mr. Misick and the complainant. The complainant’s lack of recollection for a substantial period of that time also impacted adversely upon the prospect of conviction,” DeFreitas said.

DeFreitas said the investigation had been delayed due to the conducting of forensic tests.

Following the tests, the case was referred to “eminent, independent UK legal counsel” who reviewed the evidence and recommended that charges not be brought against Misick.

In response to the decision, Misick said he felt vindicated. However, the victory was bittersweet.

“It is difficult to celebrate because there is nothing to celebrate. My good name has been tarnished. I went through a year and a half of hell, while waiting for the authorities to confirm what I already knew, which is that no rape occurred.

“To drag out this matter for a year and a half has hurt me and my family, friends and others close to me very deeply. I am certainly happy that this saga is over. I can now put that behind me and move on with my life,” Misick said.

Misick still has to wait to see if he will face criminal charges arising out of the evidence found by the Commission of Inquiry that there was widespread corruption in his former government.

The evidence, which led to Britain imposing direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands, recommended that criminal investigations be conducted into Misick and four of his former Cabinet ministers.

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