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Former Registrar returns to SVG, slapped with three charges

Former Registrar returns to SVG, slapped with three charges

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Three criminal charges have been laid against former registrar of the High Court Vanessa Tamara Gibson-Marks.

Gibson-Marks appeared yesterday at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, before Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias, and was charged with abuse of office, false certification by a public officer and theft of $21,925.{{more}}

She pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

Abuse of office carries a maximum jail sentence of three years; false certification by a public officer – two years; while a person can be imprisoned for up to two years if convicted summarily of the offence of theft.

The prosecution did not object to bail, which was granted in the sum of $30,000, with one surety. Gibson-Marks’ husband, lawyer Ronald Marks stood bail.

No request was made for Gibson-Marks’ travel documents to be surrendered.

The former registrar is being represented by St Lucian attorney Alberton Richelieu and Vincentian Duane Daniel. She is expected to return to court on October 7, 2014.

Prior to being charged, the former registrar met with Attorney General Judith Jones Morgan at the Attorney General’s chambers at Granby Street, Kingstown.

She arrived there at about 9:15 a.m., in the company of her husband Ronald Marks.

The meeting with Jones-Morgan was called so that Gibson-Marks could provide answers to queries, which had been raised by Director of Audit Dahlia Sealey, in a report giving the findings of investigations into allegations of misappropriation of funds by the former registrar.

Gibson-Marks arrived in St Vincent on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. on Liat 737 from Barbados, accompanied by her sister.

After Gibson-Marks cleared Immigration and Customs, she apparently was alerted to the presence of SEARCHLIGHT at the airport, and so exited through the back door of the arrival hall. She left the airport in a vehicle driven by her husband Ronald.

SEARCHLIGHT has been informed that in the last week or so, Gibson-Marks made a payment to the High Court of just over $21,000, the same figure which the Director of Audit stated could not be accounted for from the mediation programme of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme court.

The funds, which had gone missing from the mediation programme, were in addition to approximately $360,000 withdrawn over several months, from the St Vincent Cooperative Bank, for matters which appear unrelated to cases being settled by the court.

According to our source, Gibson-Marks has made several repayments to the trust fund since she resigned and left the country almost three months ago.

Up to press time, a sum of between $10,000 and $30,000 remained outstanding from the trust fund, SEARCHLIGHT has been informed.

On June 5, Jones-Morgan filed an application in the High Court for Gibson-Marks to be disbarred because of improper and unprofessional conduct.

In the application, the Attorney General gave three reasons why the former registrar should be disbarred and called on Gibson-Marks to show cause why she should not.

The Attorney General’s application for Gibson-Marks to be disbarred was to have been heard before the court on Monday, September 8, but the hearing has been postponed to later in September as the new law term does not begin until September 17.

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