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HomeNewsLocal newsTwo Fahie Jurors Express Conviction Remorse

Two Fahie Jurors Express Conviction Remorse

Two jurors who voted to convict former BVI Premier Andrew Fahie now say they have misgivings. (Photo courtesy BVI GIS)

Two jurors who voted to convict former British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie have contacted court officers to express remorse, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Fahie was unanimously convicted Feb. 8 of conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to commit money laundering, attempted money laundering, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering in a bid to make Tortola a major stopover for ships laden with drugs bound for the U.S. He is scheduled to be sentenced to a prison term of 10 years to life on April 29.

Immediately after the verdict was read in the Miami courtroom, all 12 jurors were polled individually. Each one said Fahie was guilty. But one juror twice made eye contact with Fahie’s attorneys with a look of distress and appeared to pause before saying “yes” to Fahie’s guilt, defense attorney Theresa Van Vliet told the court. Judge Kathleen Williams noted the interaction but took no further action.

The proceedings ended at 6 p.m. but government and defense attorneys were called back. Two jurors had lagged behind after the others left to tell court staff their minds had not been made up as to Fahie’s guilt in at least one of the four crimes, according to court records.

One of the now-undecided jurors also tried several times to reach a member of Fahie’s defense team by phone, saying he wanted to know what was happening with the case and didn’t think the jury would ever come to an agreement. The defense attorney advised their conversation was inappropriate and hung up.

What exactly will happen with the case is unclear. The New York-based legal journal Law360 reported Judge Williams called the situation a “worst-case scenario.” A Florida attorney commenting below the article agreed, saying the judge had very limited good options in such a situation.

Although on the surface, it might appear the judge’s options could range from doing nothing to declaring a mistrial, long-held rules and Supreme Court rules protect jury decisions from being second-guessed, according to reports filed by both prosecutors and Fahie’s attorneys. A jury’s verdict is supposed to be the end of their final involvement in a trial, after which they are supposed to anonymously return to their regular life.

The manner of how a verdict is reached, so long as there was no misconduct, is not supposed to be queried, according to court records. And anything jurors say after the verdict is not supposed to reflect on the verdict.

Judge Williams made scheduling accommodations for some jurors, including wrapping up proceedings at 2:30 most days and postponing a planned Friday, Feb. 2 hearing altogether, according to court records. Even then, the next Monday, one juror sent a note complaining the trial was taking too long and the introduction of evidence should be hurried.

“The court addressed Juror A individually in open court including cautioning that even discussion of the duration of the case was an impermissible discussion among the jurors of the case prior to it being presented to them by the court for deliberation,” according to court filings.

Two more questions from jurors during their less than four hours of deliberations didn’t relate to the case but to provisions for child care.

Fahie’s attorney suggested the court ask the two jurors if the verdict — guilty on all counts — was indeed their verdict.

Prosecutors warned of attacking the jury, citing a trial rule protecting verdicts — Rule 606 — and precedents where the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of shielding juries from public scrutiny. Losing sides in a trial are not allowed to challenge a verdict by arguing it resulted from compromise, mistake, or carelessness, according to court records.

“The government maintains that Rule 606 and Eleventh Circuit precedent demand that the jury’s verdict remain respected and undisturbed, whether or not defendant opts to file a motion for a new trial or mistrial based on post-verdict, post-polling, and post-discharge juror statements. There is no “clear, strong, substantial and incontrovertible” evidence or reason to believe that the jury ever considered extraneous prejudicial information, experienced outside influence, made a mistake on the verdict form, or relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict the defendant,” prosecutors told the court.

Should the court deem it necessary, any further polling of the jury should be addressed to the foreperson rather than the two complaining jurors, prosecutors said.

“Should the foreperson respond that the verdict form does not contain any mistakes, the court should end its inquiry and the jury’s verdict must remain respected and undisturbed. Importantly, consistent with Rule 606(b), the government believes the court should refrain from asking the foreperson how the jury arrived at its verdict or whether certain jurors were displeased with the verdict, as this is expressly barred by Eleventh Circuit precedent as inquiry into purely internal matters,” they continued. “The court should also not inquire directly of any other jurors about whether the verdict form contains any mistakes because each juror already, under oath, told the Court that the published verdict was — in fact — their verdict. A juror’s subsequent recantation, dissatisfaction, or anger with the deliberation process or the outcome cannot be the basis for impeaching a verdict.”

Fahie, the BVI’s former Ports Authority Managing Director, Oleanvine Pickering Maynard, and her son were caught in federal drug sting in April 2022. Fahie and company thought they were making a deal with a Mexican drug cartel when in fact it was federal agents, according to prosecutors.

Maynard, 32, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in November to 57 months in prison on a single charge of conspiracy to import cocaine. Pickering Maynard, who testified against Fahie, also pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced on Feb. 22.

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