US court finds ex-BVI Premier Fahie guilty after questioning juror

By Thomson Reuters Mar 8, 2024 | 2:09 PM

(Reuters) – A U.S. court found the former premier of the British Virgin Islands guilty on charges of drug trafficking, according to court documents published on Friday, a month after the original verdict following an unusual delay in which two jurors voiced doubts.

Andrew Fahie, who served as premier of the British territory between 2019 and 2022, was charged with planning to shield cocaine-filed boats while docked in the Caribbean islands’ ports and bribing a government official in a plot intended to run thousands of kilograms of the drug through the territory.

Fahie was arrested two years ago in Miami, where U.S. justice authorities say he traveled to pick up an advance payment for the scheme.

Jurors unanimously found Fahie guilty on charges of cocaine trafficking, money laundering and bribery in a Miami court on Feb. 8.

However, Judge Kathleen Williams soon after subpoenaed two jurors who expressed misgivings after the conviction, the Miami Herald reported. It said only one had showed up on Thursday and this juror confirmed their vote was their decision.

The judge had also been concerned because one of the jurors with misgivings had spoken to one of Fahie’s lawyers on the phone the day after the verdict, reportedly to ask what was happening with the case, the Herald said.

Later in February, the court denied a request from Fahie to interview jurors in order to explore whether any juror misconduct had taken place, saying Fahie could not establish a good reason to do so.

The judge confirmed the guilty verdict after Thursday’s juror inquiry and Fahie, who faces at least 10 years in prison, is set to be sentenced on April 29.

Shortly after his arrest, Fahie was replaced as premier by Natalio Wheatley following a vote of no confidence.

(Reporting by Sarah Morland; Editing by Bill Berkrot)