No House arrest for Panton
Bail application denied as accused fraudster remains in correctional facility
One of Jean-Ann Panton’s lawyers yesterday unsuccessfully made an application for the accused fraudster and former Stocks & Securities Limited (SSL) wealth adviser to be placed in a halfway house or under house arrest, citing less favourable conditions in custody.
When the matter was called up in the Home Circuit Court on Friday, Panton’s defence presented an additional report from one of her doctors.
Attorney Sylvester Hemmings, who was watching proceedings on behalf of Panton’s family, told Justice Lorna Shelly-Williams that he technically represented Panton after an earlier bail application by Tameka Harris was denied.
The submission, which started on February 17 when Panton appeared before the court and was remanded, continued after the judge indicated she needed more information about Panton’s health status.
The bail application was however rejected yesterday after Harris completed her submission.
Hemmings, after Justice Shelly-Williams made her ruling, reiterated that Panton’s health superseded anything.
“I am recommending my lady that a halfway house would probably be more conducive to the condition that she now suffers… a half-house facility my lady is one that the police have full jurisdiction and control over, it is sometimes called house arrest,” Hemmings said.
“Oh, you’re asking for house arrest?” Justice Shelly Williams asked.
“I’m not using that term my lady but sometimes it is called that term,” Hemmings said.
He asked the court to take into consideration the likelihood of further ruin to Panton’s health mentally and physically.
“In fact, this is a prison, not a lock-up that she is in, I don’t know that she has been convicted,” he said, adding that he was making a further application for bail.
He said although the charges are serious, they were laid almost on a daily basis and are not murder offences.
Hemmings argued that the seriousness may have been overplayed by the media as he asked the judge to reconsider at some other time and not in the heat of the moment.
Justice Shelly-Williams was clearly not in agreement and rubbished Hemmings’ argument.
“I have not heard anything new or separate from what Harris has urged on me and I am sure you are aware that cases are tried only as to what is said in court and nowhere else. I’m not sure why you mentioned anything concerning the press to this court,” she said.
The matter was set for mention on April 19 and for plea and case management on June 15.
Justice Shelly-Williams told the defence attorney that an application for bail can be made at a future date.
“I have considered the application in full and I am not minded to grant bail at this time. That is to say if a further application and further medical report is submitted to the court, you may do so and I may consider the issue of bail if so at a later date,” she said.
The court heard that the medical report which was submitted five minutes before the start of the sitting was a statement from one of the doctors on account of what the accused told that doctor.
Harris, who appeared remotely during submission, also said that Panton needed to be assisted with simple tasks like using the bathroom.
Harris told the court that Panton suffers from non-communicable illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension, chronic lumbar, hip and knee pain which required physiotherapy.
Accordingly, the medical reports remained inconclusive of whether Panton will be able to walk again.
“I am not seeing anything that would keep her from being in custody,” Justice Shelly-Williams said.
The Financial Investigations Division (FID) had reported that Panton was charged with breaches of the Larceny Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Forgery Act and the Cybercrimes Act.
Panton is accused of removing a total of more than $3 billion from a number of accounts managed by SSL including a business owned by Usain Bolt.