Jury to resume deliberations in Bush trial on Thursday

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The jury in the trial of former Premier McKeeva Bush will resume its deliberations on Thursday morning.

The seven jurors were sent home just after 4 p.m. Wednesday after deliberating for around three hours, without coming to a unanimous decision.

Large crowds of supporters of the former premier and other interested observers had gathered at the court house in anticipation of a verdict. Such was the level of public interest that there was no room left in the public gallery and scores of people waited in the corridors and on the steps of the court house.

Similar scenes are expected Thursday morning as the jury continues to consider the evidence.

Mr. Bush is charged with 11 offenses – six of misconduct in a public office contrary to Common Law and five of breach of trust by a member of the Legislative Assembly contrary to the Anti-Corruption Law.

The charges relate to allegations that he withdrew just less than US$50,000 on his government-issued credit card and used at least some of that money to gamble in casino slot machines – conduct the prosecution say amounts to an abuse of his power.

Summing up the evidence and giving legal directions earlier on Wednesday, Justice Michael Mettyear, told the jury to resist judging Mr. Bush for his gambling and to stick to the evidence in relation to the specific charges.

“It may be that you are, at the very least, surprised by his conduct, that would be the same of any premier traveling abroad on business, you wouldn’t expect him to spend hours and hours on slot machines. Surprise may be one emotion you feel, you might be disappointed, or even saddened by his conduct … particularly if you don’t approve of gambling. None of those feelings would justify you convicting him.”

He also told them that if they did believe Mr. Bush to be guilty of the offenses, it would be no defense to say the investigation was politically motivated.

While they may find former Governor Duncan Taylor’s emails to the foreign office distasteful, he said, his motivations were not directly relevant. No evidence had been fabricated, he added.
 

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A smiling McKeeva Bush arrives at the Grand Court on Wednesday morning. – PHOTO: CHRIS COURT

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