COMMENTARY: Andrea Hughes: A Life For A House

Members of Corporate Antigua presented a home to the off springs and father of the late Andrea Hughes. Thirty-two year old Andrea Hughes died on March 30, 2014, after being hit by a vehicle while walking near Cedar Grove, leaving behind nine children

by Rawlston Pompey

It could never be said that ‘A Life’ lost in a traffic accident, is worth ‘A House.’ If such is the view of those that enforce law and of those that administrate and dispense justice, then all are destined to hell. Suffice to say that no ‘Police Service’may earn the respect and confidence of a citizenry, if by its action or inaction, it is perceived to be; (a) ‘…Brutally punitive; or (b) …Selectively discriminatory; or (c) …Prosecutorally bias.’ When law-abiding citizens speak to the concept ‘Justice,’ they are in fact been speaking to a grievous wrong, civilly committed against them. Consequently, the aggrieved person may litigiously cause the ‘Judiciary’ to be visited upon the wrongdoers.


From another perspective, when or informally are formally brought to the investigative attention of Law enforcement, know that the responsibilities statutorily imposed upon a ‘Commissioner of Police’ and general membership’ of the ‘Police Service,’ require every member to discharge their fundamental duties. This shall not only be done in the manner consistent with the ‘Oath of Office,’ but also to the expectation and satisfaction of the law-abiding [Sections 6, 17: 22 & 23: Police Act: Chapter 330]. Thus, every member shall know that the general public have often expressed outrage in the manner certain matters have been handled. The tragic death of ‘Andrea Hughes 32,’ and cold-blooded, brutal and senseless murder of ‘Customs officer Nigel Christian’ were no exception [April 30, 2014 and July, 2020].


Though some readers may find this commentary intensely distressing, it primarily focuses on; (i) ‘…The tragic death of Andrea Hughes; (ii) …The questionable intervention and involvement of ‘former General Manager of Bryson’s Shipping, ‘Nathan Dundas;’ (iii) …His apparent dubious intent; and (iv) …Representation made on behalf of her children by him. It also looks at; (a) …The inordinate delay in bringing Judicial Closure’ to the tragedy; (b) …The crime of Perverting the Course of Justice; (c) …Statute of Limitation; and (d) …The apparent pathetic attitude of traffic accident and criminal investigators.’


Enforcement of law necessarily means the protection of society and ensuring that the ‘Rule of Law’ prevails over all other considerations. The days of the captivating, yet ‘fanciful political bantering or jesting’ that ‘Justice is slow, but Justice is Sure,’ have long been passed into political history [Former Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer]. More pragmatic and decisive leadership never engaged in such whimsical expressions. Such leadership have made its intentions, albeit ‘Pregnant with Acrimony,’ very clear. It is to the knowledge that every aggrieved litigant or victim of crime, expects those with responsibility for enforcement of the law as well as those responsible for the administration of justice shall have been fairly and equally dispensed.


By the ‘Oath of Office’ every law enforcement officer has been under microscopic scrutiny of the citizens.  The citizenry not only expects to see them as acting professionally, but also lawfully and fairly. When Law enforcement personnel subscribed to such ‘Oath,’ each was sworn to ‘…Well and truly serve Our Sovereign Lady the Queen without; (a) ‘…Favor or affection; and (b) …Malice or ill-will’ [Section 17: Police Act: Chapter 330].’ Implicit in these ‘Core Values’are three fundamentals; (i) ‘…Serving and protecting the citizens from the criminal elements; (ii) …Apprehending perpetrators of crime; and (iii) …Bringing lawless and reckless citizens to justice.’ More importantly, criminal investigators shall not only endeavor to the utmost of their power in bringing perpetrators to justice, but also to maintain the ‘Rule of Law.’


Guided by knowledge of law and without fear of contradiction an aggrieved or bereaved person may say with some degree of dissatisfaction, there has been miserable failure in bringing ‘Judicial Closure’ to the ‘Andrea Hughes’ tragic death. Frequently, there are those that would seek to exploit or frustrate either the investigative process or derail the administration and dispensation of justice. This is usually the bidding of those with societal prominence or in possession of vast amount of wealth. It has been the knowledge that not many people are familiar with the crime, ‘Perverting the Course of Justice.’


While some law enforcement personnel appear oblivious to the meaning of this criminal act, most investigators know that, ‘Perverting the Course of Justice’ is an offence at ‘Common Law.’ Though not necessarily attributing blame to law enforcement for lack of ‘Judicial Closure’ to the tragic death of the female pedestrian, citizens shall not see their ‘Core Values’ as inapplicable to certain high-society people. Thus, investigators shall never see the road fatality victim as a ‘Nonentity’ and a reason not to follow-up to ensure that final closure’ is brought to the widely publicized tragedy. Viewed from the perspective of the conduct of ‘former Bryson’s Shipping General Manager, Nathan Dundas’ (deceased), if ‘Public Justice’ is to be served, the questions that seem most appropriate to be asked are; (i) ‘…Did he commit the crime ‘Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice? And (ii) …If so, who are the co-conspirators?’


In this particular case it begs the all-important question; ‘…Has justice been perverted?’ Consequent upon the apparent timely intervention and involvement voluntarily or persuasively or otherwise, the adept criminal investigators may have been suspicious of his positional relationship as; (i) ‘…General Manager of Bryson’s Shipping with shareholdings in the Group of Companies; and (ii) ‘…His apparent non-relationship with the traffic accident fatality ‘Andrea Hughes.’ Thus, in spearheading the drive in providing a specially constructed ‘40×25 two-bedroom wooden dwelling house’ to the surviving ‘nine children of the deceased,’ shall have caused the investigators to look ‘Beneath the Surface’ as obtained in radio programme.


Early on Law enforcement training instructors had inculcated in the minds of prospective investigators certain quotes. One such quote was; ‘…Commit a crime, and the world is made of glass.’ Tit was explained that no matter the criminal act committed, some ‘Damning Circumstances’ always exist. This he instructed is the ‘Nexus’ that connects the perpetrator to the crime alleged to have been committed. In the case of a ‘Hit and Run Fatal Traffic Accident,’ while debris of stripped paint or broken glass or parts of a motor vehicle were often found strewn across the road from the ‘Point of Impact,’ there is no better ‘Nexus’ than immediate seizure and to impound the vehicle. The driver in the ‘Andrea Hughes Hit and Run’ traffic accident had nowhere to hide.


None may deny that ‘Andrea Hughes’ was accidentally run over by a motor vehicle. The accident that reportedly occurred on the ‘Weatherill’s public road,’ speaks to a very ‘Harrowing Story.’  The fateful night was ‘April 29, 2014.’While she was walking along the public road tragedy struck. The driver reportedly kept on driving, leaving the accident victim on the roadway. She reportedly bled from the ‘head, nose and mouth and other parts of the body.’ Helplessly, she lay on the roadway writhing in pain, but ‘slowly and surely dying.’ Several hours after, the traffic accident turned from ‘Serious to Fatal.’ She succumbed one day later to injuries sustained [April 30, 2014]. As it was gruesomely told, tears fell from the eyes of her children; …her partner Dane Hamilton; …her family and friends and those who knew her.


This was the result of the tragic traffic accident that had robbed the former ‘Cedar Grove resident’ of her life; caused immense grief and sorrow to be visited upon her partner ‘Dane Hamilton and left their nine children motherless.’ They included ‘three sets of twins.’ Their ages then ranged ‘from 5 years to 12 years.’ With metal forcefully striking the human body, ‘Andrea Hughes’ was reportedly struck by a motor vehicle and by the impact, left ‘Battered and Bruised.’  The driver, subsequently identified by investigators was ‘Mark Ryan.’ When tragedy strikes, it is natural for humans to take flight. He appeared to have been too overwhelmed with fright to stop immediately at the scene of the accident.


Generally, the law provides for a ‘Coroner’s Inquisition’ into circumstances surrounding tragic deaths [Section 12 (2) (d): Coroners Act: Chapter 105]. Thus, at the conclusion of such Inquisition, a ‘five-member Jury’ may find a motorist ‘Culpable of the Death.’ This so whether or not the deceased person was; (a) …An occupant in a motor vehicle; or (b)…A pedestrian on the public road.’ After such verdict, a Coroner is empowered to issue a ‘Warrant of Arrest’ for ‘Manslaughter.’ [Section 33: Coroners Act: Chapter 105]. The Coroner is also empowered to grant bail to the ‘Culpable Driver.’ This allows for subsequent ‘Committal Proceedings’ on a charge of ‘Manslaughter,’ and if indicted by the ‘Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP),’ fit for criminal trial by a Jury [CA: Section 34].


Seven years have elapsed since the tragedy that resulted in the loss of life of ‘Andrea Hughes,’ the mother of nine children and her partner Dane Hamilton [April 30, 2014]. Most significantly, it has been just over five years since a ‘Coroner’s Jury’ returned a ‘Verdict of Culpability’ against the driver ‘Mark Ryan’ [March 2, 2016]. If it doesn’t seem an awfully long time to those that; (a) ‘…Enforces law; (b) …Prosecute offenders; and (c) …Administrate justice,’ then just what is? It has been seven years after the untimely death of ‘Andrea Hughes’ [April 30, 2014].Likened to the silent critics, including law enforcement personnel and public officials, the public’s interest would be better served to bring closure to this vexing fatal traffic accident.


Even as social justice activist ‘James ‘Tanny’ Rose’ the ‘Living Voice of Andrea Hughes’ and prominent businessman ‘Sir George Ryan’ continue to speak to the issue, those responsible for the administration and dispensation of justice,continue to treat her tragic death with indifference. Then adding to their misery, have been the ‘Self-Serving Road Safety Groups.’ With clearly peculiar interests they have constantly shown hypocrisy, ‘Parading for Publicity’ on State and social media speaking to the issue of ‘Road Safety.’ Yet they have seemingly found it convenient to remain in deafening silence in this particular tragic traffic accident.


Then there was the odd statement by an attorney. Accorded ‘Coroner’s Courtesy,’ he was quoted as informing mainstream media that the ‘High Court of Justice’ issued a ‘Stay Order’ preventing the Police from instituting criminal proceedings against his client, know that such statement is capable of being described as ‘deceitful.’ [Observer: August 23, 2017]. That which shall be known is this, except as a deponent, law enforcers have ‘No Locus Standi’ in ‘Coroner’s Inquisition.’ They neither make determinations, nor decides who shall or shall not be charged or committed for ‘Jury Trial’ for the crime of ‘Manslaughter.’


Such is the function of, and a power that resides only with the ‘Coroner.’ Then acting in the reversed role of‘Committing Magistrate’ and the ‘Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’ who serving the public interest, may indict and prosecute. Thus, from the perspective of criminal prosecution, know that such statement represents a brazen attempt to; (i) ‘…Misguide clients; (ii) …Mislead the media; and (iii) …Misinform the general public.’ In the instant case, a practicing attorney runs the risk of being seen as intending to ‘Pervert the Course of Justice.’ Investigators shall have taken cue from this very statement.


Invariably, it has been statements such as this that those with responsibility for administrating and dispensing justice were often forced to draw unfavorable inferences as to the professional conduct of such attorneys. Instructively, a discretionary power resides with a ‘Coroner.’ Thus, an attorney upon application, may be allowed an appearance at the Inquisition [Section 24: Coroners Act: Chapter 105]. Even so, there is neither a right of; (a) ‘…Audience; or (b) …Representation; nor (c) …To be heard.’ It is not a criminal trial. Such attorney is precluded from active participation in the proceedings. Thus, he sits quietly and uninterruptedly, listens attentively and observes the proceedings.


Long before a five-member ‘Coroner’s Jury’ had returned their ‘Verdict of Culpability,’ ‘Nathan Dundas,’ then ‘General Manager of Bryson’s Shipping’ appeared to have been ‘Instrumental or Influential’ in wooing several high-profile innocent citizens to attend a ‘House Presentation Ceremony.’ Among those persons was ‘Governor General, His Excellency, Sir Rodney Errey Williams GCMG, MBBS.’ Innocently, but patronizingly, he made his presence felt and his expressions of sympathy and satisfaction heard.


There was the involvement of several other ‘Prominent Persons’ of ‘Influence or Wealth.’ These included ‘Jill Fernandez and Vanessa Maria Bird-Browne.’ They also made their presence felt, contributions and future contributions publicly known [Rotary Web Page: September 6, 2014]. It was not clear how ‘Rotary Club Vice President Paul Ryan’ got involved, but the organization had presented a ‘Cheque’ to cover costs of ‘School’s Registration’ of at least four of the ‘Motherless Children’ left behind following the tragic death of ‘Andrea Hughes’ [July 22, 2015: Rotary Club Web Page].


If it shall be gently reminded, ‘Nathan Dundas’ business colleague ‘Patrick Ryan,’ is the undisputed father of ‘Mark Ryan.’ Incidentally, he is the driver that the ‘Coroner’s Jury’ attributed ‘Culpability’ for the death of ‘Andrea Hughes.’ His ‘Watching Brief Attorney’ was identified as ‘Hugh Marshall Jr.’ Whatever the verdict of the ‘Coroner’s Jury,’ except misrepresentation of the verdict, in which an attorney may be at liberty to seek ‘Judicial Review’ by a Superior Court.


Disguising an apparent ‘Dubious Intent,’ former ‘President of the Cruise Tourism Association (CTA) ‘Nathan Dundas’ succeeded in providing the children of ‘Andrea Hughes.’ They were bereaved by the unfortunate traffic accident [April 30, 2014]. Incidentally, evidence suggested that he had eked out from Corporate citizens funds said to have been expended toward a dwelling house. He had spearheaded fundraising efforts in securing assistance for construction of a wooden tenement to the value of ‘EC$150, 000.’ This he presented to the ‘Motherless children of the deceased’ [Rotary Club: September 6, 2014].


It matters not the status of persons fingered this is an offence that has often inspired public interest. Yet, traffic accident and criminal investigators appeared not to have the feintest of idea of that which may have prompted Nathan Dundas ‘Unsolicited Generosity’ to virtual unknowns. There are those in society that often wield power of influence or affluenceon those professionally starved of competence or for reasons of expediency or docility.’ Whether or not for one or more of these reasons, while Law enforcement investigators appeared to have taken a ‘Kitty Napping’ (cat asleep), ‘Nathan Dundas’ was a ‘Samaritan on a Mission.’


He had traveled from Antigua and Barbuda to Miami and New York ‘Soliciting Alms’ from nationals in the Diaspora for his housing initiative. Interestingly, before he was called to a place of ‘Glory or Misery,’ though not necessarily a man of straw or meager means, he had caused prominent businessman and building contractor ‘Sir George Ryan KCN,’ making media appeals to him to settle ‘an Outstanding Debt’ of ‘over EC$50, 000’ [OMG]. Sir George shall know that a Claim for settlement might lawfully be made against his ‘Estate.’


Conversely, an attorney so engaged and instructed to represent the interests of the bereaved may have litigated against the ‘Culpable driver and Insurance Company’ for ‘Compensatory Benefits.’ That which is in issue was the questionable role of ‘Nathan Dundas.’ It speaks to nothing short of a cunning attempt at ‘Perverting the Course of Justice.’ Traffic and criminal investigators shall know that which is of critical importance to; (a) …Public confidence; (b) …Road Safety; and (c) …Rule of Law,’ undoubtedly, is bringing ‘Judicial Closure’ to the tragedy that resulted in the loss of life of a mother ‘Andrea Hughes’ and her 9 grieving children.


While it remained unconfirmed ‘an Escrow or Sub-Account’ was said to have been established some financial institution to the benefit of the children of the deceased ‘Andrea Hughes.’ Even as criminal investigators may not have suspected him as a co-conspirator in the criminal act of ‘Perverting the Course of Justice,’ they shall experience no difficulties in; (a) ‘…Identifying co-conspirators; or (b) …Unearthing Documentary Evidence’ as to the holders of such account. Such might be accessible at some financial institutions. This may very well provide some insights necessary to determine whether or not ‘Nathan Dundas’ was moved by ‘Empathy and Compassion’ or by third parties with vested interests in order to escape criminal prosecutions.


While some criminal acts cannot be prosecuted if criminal proceedings were not instituted within six months of commission, there are those serious acts of criminality that do not. That which shall be known is that there are some serious acts or omissions or courses of conduct that are classified as crime. None therefore, may advance arguments on the issue of ‘Statute of Limitation.’  Thus, none shall be so professionally daft or intellectually crass as to suggest that; (a) ‘…Manslaughter’ (Verdict of Coroner’s Jury); or (b) …Causing Death by Dangerous Driving’ (when charged by the Police) is ‘Statute Barred’ [Sections 37: Coroners Act: Chapter 105: and Section 57: Vehicles and Road Traffic Act: Chapter 460].


From a criminal perspective, credible prima facie evidence may have been left behind by ‘Nathan Dundas.’ He appeared to have been the executing agent of that which shall attract criminal investigation into what is seen as a disguised attempt at ‘Perverting the Course of Justice’ with persons known. The astute investigator shall not only seek to solve the particular crime, but shall always endeavor to find ‘The Nexus.’ This may have been evident in the recent ‘Regional News’ that speaks to a ‘Jamaican child-rapist’ who hastily fled the scene leaving behind; (i) ‘…His clothes; (ii) …A knife; and (iii) …A cellular phone’ [ANR: April, 2021]. This reportedly occurred after a distraught mother made a hue and cry, and incensed residents moved into do either the imaginable or unimaginable.


It is the professional knowledge and practice that advice are usually tendered when prosecutorally sought of his office by ‘Head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).’ Many personnel were said to be keenly looking to see what may be the final outcome of the ‘Andrea Hughes’ tragic death and the possibility of persons that may have acted conspiratorially with ‘Nathan Dundas’ in attempting to ‘Pervert the Course of Justice’ before his death’ [Observer: January 25, 2021]. Incensed personnel were said to have expressed deep concerns, particularly as investigators were said to have been conveniently ‘Smarting Under Advice’ purportedly sought from, and tendered by ‘Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong.’


It has been to the knowledge of the ‘Judiciary’ and the public that the female had reportedly perjured herself before then jurisdictional High Court Judge, ‘His Lordship Justice Iain Morley.’ In spite of this and for whatever the reason/s, she has not been charged with the crimes; (i) ‘…Perjury; and (ii) Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice.’ Recalling the female’s ‘Perjured Testimony’ and seemingly sensing an egregious bias, both ‘Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh and His Lordship’ was reported to have enquired about the criminal status. Law enforcement investigators shall not be seen as showing inconsistencies in dealing with the crime ‘Perverting the Course of Justice.’


A particular case on point might that involving a police officer and his experiences with criminal investigators. Even as ‘Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney’ was reportedly fully apprised and seized of certain facts, a known ‘Female Perjurer’ was said to be enjoying her liberty while, an accused officer continues to ‘Languish on Suspension.’ There is no doubt that consequent upon the role played by ‘Nathan Dundas (deceased)’ in the ‘Andrea Hughes’ tragic demise, there are ‘Perverters of Justice’ who might very well be of interest to criminal investigators.


What shall have been known were revelations to the media of his business relationship with. and positions held in the‘George W. Bennett Bryson Group of Companies.’ Moreover, it shall have been known that he had special interests in companies under the ‘Chairmanship’ of his immediate boss and business colleague ‘Patrick Ryan.’ Investigators shall also have known of the relationship between ‘Patrick Ryan and Mark Ryan.’ While it remained unconfirmed ‘an Escrow Account’ was said to have been established some financial institution to the benefit of the children of the deceased ‘Andrea Hughes.’  This also may have been investigated and verified. That which shall now occupy the attention of criminal investigators is why has there not been ‘Judicial Closure’ to the tragedy. ***

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