A report linking a former Bermuda shadow minister for justice, Julian Hall, with the 1990 drug enquiry For more information about Mr Hall, click here.
Former MP at centre of missing report scandal
Back in 1993 search warrants were issued so the Police could search the premises of Hall & Associates looking for material relating to a company called “Elmhurst Productions”. Police hoped files there “would show the receipt and disbursement of funds for an on behalf of named drug traffickers through the vehicle or vehicles of a company or companies which had been specifically established by the Applicant for that purpose”.
Files pertaining to Elmhurst Productions were seized at Hall & Associates.
The investigation looked at Mr Hall’s involvement with Antonio Miranda, Hugo Mata and Marcus Cohab, major drug kingpins who were responsible for several brutal murders. The ring smuggled narcotics into Bermuda via cruise ships for many years. At one point Miranda is said to have marvelled over the island’s appetite for cocaine. Several members of the group were jailed for murder and drug related offences.
During raids in October, 1993 police also took files relating to Antonio Miranda and others thought to be major drug traffickers.
In a sworn affidavit Mr Hall said he felt he was being unfairly targeted because of race related comments he had made in the House of Assembly about then Magistrate John Judge, who issued the search warrant for his offices.
“During this tenure as Opposition spokesman on matters relating to the administration of justice I had occasion specifically to discuss in the Parliament of Bermuda what I had observed and sincerely regarded as the racist and intemperate attitude displayed by the First Respondent (Mr Judge) toward both counsel and litigants of African descent who had become before the First Respondent’s court,” Mr Hall said in a sworn affidavit signed November 26, 1993. But although the investigation of the international drug ring continued in the United States and the United Kingdom, the investigation in Bermuda came to an abrupt and unexplained halt.
In January 2000 Julian Hall was declared bankrupt – which prohibits him from practising as a barrister – with debts of $1.9 million and assets of $135,000.
In December, 1997 he was ordered to pay a former client, Canadian widow Betty Lorraine McMahon, $1.6 million plus seven per cent interest for irregularities involving the handling of certain of her funds.
Mr Hall no longer lives in Bermuda, although he visited the island over Cup Match. He is believed to now be based in the UK.
“I think your newspaper is creating the impression that things have happened and there is a suspicious value to that,” said Deputy Governor Tim Gurney last night, Government House, which is ultimately responsible for internal security in Bermuda, convened the Serious Crimes Commission.
“I don’t think that is fair. It is an investigation we are looking into. As far as I can see there is nothing suspicious at the back of it at the moment.” Mr Gurney said he had no reason to doubt the integrity of the Serious Crimes commissioners.
“What is important at this stage is that the existence of this piece of paper (the submission to the Serious Crimes Commission) is now well known,” he said, “However, if someone tried (illicitly) to suppress this piece of paper the fact is, thanks to the media, we are aware of it.”
Mr Gurney said because of the media coverage, the police are now actively going over records related to the “collapsed” Hall investigation to make sure nothing untoward happened to halt it.
“If anything shady happened with the Serious Crimes Commission, it was an attempt to stop that case from being re-examined,” he said. “Well, now it is being re-examined. If people can produce evidence that the commissioners were involved in some sort of underhand activity, they should come forward with it.”
Mr Gurney said it was hard to comment on whether the Commission had been party to a political cover-up.
“For there to have been a cover-up it would require the police in 1993 to have been corrupt” he said “I have no idea where the missing submission went. I don’t know why the police investigation collapsed. Collapse may be the wrong word. It is being looked into.”
Lawyer, Member of Parliament and Bermuda Bar Council President Trevor Moniz last night said Mr Gurney’s comments did not go far enough: “One concern was why was the submission ignored? The other concern is was there political intervention into a police investigation in the 1990’s?”
He cautioned that he was not speaking on behalf of the Bar Council, because he had not discussed the matter with them, yet.
“I have no personal knowledge of this thing,” he said, “I have read what is in the paper. It seems pretty obvious, from what I have read that the submission was ignored for whatever reason. They (the commissioners) should have said they read it and decided it wasn’t appropriate to put into the report, rather than denying its existence. “The Commissioner of Police, at the time, should be asked why wasn’t something done with the investigation?
Mr Hall has led a charmed life in the country and got away with many things.”
Many critics of the 2000 Serious Crimes Commission Inquiry have accused the commission of skirting the real issue, the botched investigation of the Rebecca Middleton murder.
“In the best of all possible worlds they should have concentrated on the Rebecca Middleton case,” said Mr Moniz. “The fact that they wanted to include other matters in the inquiry and make it slightly broader didn’t bother me as long as they did a proper job on the Middleton case,” he said. “But when Commission chairman Stanley Moore arrived on the island he said it was not the Commission’s job to look into Middleton at all. It wasn’t until everyone went ballistic that he agreed to look at the Middleton case.”
Former PLP Shadow Justice Minister Julian Hall was named for the first time as being at the centre of a collapsed Bermuda police investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering.
A Mid-Ocean News investigation, based on documents made public by the Supreme Court revealed that police had been investigating what they believed was Mr Hall’s involvement in laundering the proceeds of a Cuban-American drugs cartel that ran drugs into the island in the 80’s and early 90’s.
A fierce legal battle took place in 1993 between Hall and Bermuda Police relating to warrants to search Hall’s offices and seize certain documents. Hall argued the seizure of the documents violated attorney client privileges. The police won the case. But some time later, the investigations were halted.
A former senior police officer sent a submission to the Serious Crime Commission board, asking them to look at why the Hall investigation “collapsed”, a document which Commission chairman Justice Stanley Moore first denied having received and later said was beyond his remit.
Deputy Governor Tim Gurney said the case was being re-examined by the police.
In a lengthy interview with this newspaper, Mr Hall vehemently denied that he had ever been involved in money laundering and attacked his critics, whom he described as “cowardly character assassins”.
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