Mark Seawell’s case unusual turns; where are the attorneys?
A second lawyer has withdrawn legal representation from Mark Seawell this week and his case has been postponed until he is able to secure a new defense team. Since his arrest in February 2007 the infamous Seawell, who is wanted in the United States for drug trafficking and money laundering offences, has made numerous court appearances before Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie. His lead attorney, Elson Kaseke has been able to stave off his surrender to U.S. authorities who have formally sought his extradition. But on Tuesday Kaseke requested to be excused from the proceeding following a decision taken by the Chief Magistrate in light of a previous decision handed down by Acting Chief Justice Samuel Awich. The C.J. had earlier ruled that the D.P.P.’s Office should be prosecuting Seawell and not the office of the Solicitor General on behalf of the U.S. Government. Senior Counsel Dickie Bradley, who was also on Seawell’s defense team, was subsequently asked whether he would carry on with the trial. Things however, took a sharp turn inside Courtroom Number One this morning when Bradley also removed himself from the case leaving Seawell unrepresented. News Five spoke with Bradley who explained his reason for following Kaseke’s lead.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney
“This morning was a continuation from Tuesday afternoon in which Dr. Elson Kaseke heard a decision based on a submission he had made to the Chief Magistrate in regards to the ongoing hearing of extradition proceedings against Mark Seawell. The result of the Chief Magistrate’s decision in the view of Dr. Kaseke is not an acceptable situation in that he views, perhaps [or] maybe the manner in which the decision is arrived at is that the Supreme Court had made a decision on a particular matter. And so in our system of laws a higher court, when it makes a legal decision it binds the lower court. So if the Court of Appeal makes a decision on a legal matter the Supreme Court must follow it and so of course magistrates and if the Supreme Court makes a decision on the matter all magistrates are bound to follow that pattern. So in Dr. Kaseke’s view he felt that I really ought not to be here anymore if that is the view that the court is going to take on a matter that’s elementary but fundamental as the authority of a higher court over a lower court.”
Attorney Magali Perdomo, who is representing the office of the Solicitor General, asked to court to continue with the case but the Chief Magistrate gave an adjournment to a later date. And according to Bradley, it is the first time a senior attorney has requested removal from a case.
Richard “Dickie” Bradley
“As a consequence of that the Chief Magistrate, on Tuesday, gave Mark Seawell an adjournment because she had asked me as the other attorney if I was going to continue and I said that I would need to, in fact sit with my senior colleague, Dr. Kaseke as well as speak to my client who is my boss, he pays, to find out where we go from there. This is a major development that Dr. Kaseke has taken that position. As an attorney who has worked with Dr. Kaseke and will work with him in the future on matters as well as work with other attorneys, I felt that having discussed it with Mark Seawell I felt in the circumstances that I would join with Dr. Kaseke’s view of the matter which means that having informed our client it leaves Mark Seawell, this morning, on the continuation of his extradition hearings without attorneys. Essentially what has happened is that the Chief Magistrate, who, under the extradition law and the treaty is the only person who can hear at this level extradition matters, found herself in a situation where there is no lawyers for Mr. Seawell. The other side is saying that is all well and fine but we want to continue. We are saying to the court [to] continue right now. She overruled that application and gave Mr. Seawell until next week, I think the eighteenth or nineteenth of this month to come prepared with another attorney to take up where the hearings have left off.”
In 1997 brothers Mark and Gary Seawell were both named as co-conspirators in a U.S. Federal Indictment involving an international drug ring which extended its operations to the United States.