Why rape, assault and death threat charges can’t stop Kirk Cornish from being MP for North Abaco

North Abaco MP Kirk Cornish was charged with rape, assault, and death threats on Wednesday for alleged abuse of his former girlfriend between January and April. The charges against the sitting Member of Parliament raised a legal question—do criminal charges disqualify Cornish from representing North Abaco in the House of Assembly?

The short answer is that even though Cornish is charged, the two counts of rape, two counts of assault, and one count of death threats against him cannot cause him to resign from the seat.

No law or rule stops him from staying in the House of Assembly while fighting the charges.

Cornish, a first-time MP, after winning the North Abaco seat in the September 2021 General Election, is not legally required to resign from his seat unless he is convicted and sentenced to more than 12 months in prison, according to Article 48 (1)(f) of the constitution.

If pressure from his party and the public builds, he can choose to leave his seat and the vacant seat would then require a by-election–when political parties put forward candidates as replacements for the MP who quit Parliament. Voters from the North Abaco constituency will choose who should succeed him.

In a statement released before his arraignment, Cornish defended his role as the partner in the two-year relationship with Warduia Lightbourne. “The charges are based on allegations which are totally false.

“I am fully confident that the facts which emerge during the judicial process will prove my innocence. I look forward to ending this nightmare…this was a breakup that was manipulated and exploited for political reasons—and nothing more.

“The truth will set me free.”

The charges are embarrassing for the Progressive Liberal Party and have thrust the mp’s conduct into the national spotlight since he also served as parliamentary secretary in the Prime Minister’s office before his resignation on Tuesday night.

While he is not the first sitting parliamentarian to be charged with a crime, it is a practical hurdle that could inhibit the governing party’s campaign in the next general election.

Bain and COI Members Strike $1500 Bail 1 Day After Chaos Erupted in Parliament Square

Lincoln Bain, leader of the Coalition of Independents and eight members of his party were charged and released on bail following a clash with police in Parliament Square on Wednesday.

The group was reportedly detained overnight in jail and was charged before the Magistrates court on Thursday morning, facing a litany of charges including unlawful assembly, obstruction, assault, disorderly behavior and resisting arrest.

The group pleaded not guilty then was released on $1,500 bail.

They walked out of the front door of the Magistrates Court where they were greeted by cheering supporters. Bain and the eight accused were seen embracing the happy crowd which  shouted, “Freedom is a must.”

Bain and some members of the group showed up in Rawson Square on Wednesday to give parliamentarians a copy of their immigration proposal and wound up in a fight with officers after Bain was asked to move from the steps and work within the precincts of the square. 

A senior officer physically removed Bain from the steps when chaos erupted and he was eventually carried away in a police vehicle.

They will return to court on December 1.

They were represented by Maria Daxon and Donna Dorsette Major, both members of the COI.



Pastry Chef Accused of Hinsbey’s Death

A pastry chef appeared in the Magistrate’s Court on Monday, accused of stabbing Cable Bahamas Manager Marcus Hinsbey to death in his apartment at the gated community Venito Condominium nearly three weeks ago.

31-year-old Felicia Bonimy, the owner of Sweet Indulgence 242, was supported by her mother and sister as she stood before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson Pratt to face the murder charge.

After the charge was read, Bonimy was hugged by relatives and was whisked away to the Bahamas Department of Corrections until her lawyer Ryszard Humes applies for bail in the Supreme Court.

She returns to court on December 13.

Bonimy has become popular for her sweet pastries and decorative cakes. 

The prosecutor has not revealed how Bonimy knew 60-year-old Hinsbey but investigators suggested that she took his keys and locked the door of his apartment after the crime.

The details revealed in Hinsbey’s death are graphic. He appeared to have been killed by a sharp object. He suffered a slit to the throat while his intestines hung out of his body in the bedroom of his Venito home. Defense wounds were also in his hands, which indicated Hinsbey may have fended off his attacker.

Police were alerted when Hinsbey did not show up for work. They then breached the condominium and found his body inside which may have been there for 24 hours.

Pearl Laing Murder: A Family in Disbelief

Following the grandson’s reservations that his uncle killed the 84-year-old found on her bedroom floor, the man facing charges for her strangulation appeared before the Magistrate’s Court, charged with her murder and supported by his sisters.

Fifty-year-old Sean Laing was in court to face the charges but his lawyer also expressed disbelief that he killed Pearl Laing.

His lawyer Lennox Coleby suggested that Pearl would have fought back and asked the court to examine Sean for bite or scratch marks.

Sean’s sisters showed the magistrate his seizure medication, claiming he is a severe sufferer.

Before Sean was remanded to prison, they hugged him tearfully.

The backstory

Pearl was found dead on the bedroom floor and her death was initially ruled a ‘sudden death’ until a pathology test was done which determined she died by strangulation. Sean was subsequently arrested.

Her grandson came forward to the media to express disbelief that his uncle would kill his own mother, questioning the authenticity of the autopsy result.

Sean will appear in court again on July 14.

What Charges Does Darion Smith Face?

Charges were officially filed against 33-year-old Darion Smith, the chief suspect to be tried for the killing of a four-year-old girl, D’Onya “Bella” Walker on Friday.

Twenty-nine-year-old Astonya Walker, Bella’s mother, and the girlfriend of Smith,  faces other charges of her own.

After they were hauled to court, they were not allowed to answer the charges, were denied bail and remanded to the Bahamas Department of Corrections until December 17.

Here’s a look at the charges:


This is the charge for Smith for intentionally causing the death of Bella. She suffered blunt force trauma to her body which caused broken ribs and punctured her internal organs resulting in massive bleeding.  The autopsy revealed the child suffered from old fractures that healed by themselves.

This charge can only be reduced to manslaughter if Smith was extremely provoked or any other excuse.

Smith can face the death penalty, which has become a controversial issue in the country, to be determined by the Privy Council if it is considered “the worst of the worst.”

Cruelty to children

This is the charge for both Smith and the girlfriend. They had custody of Bella. She was handed over to them by the child’s paternal grandparents when she was exposed to assaults, ill-treatment and neglect, causing unnecessary suffering and injury.

Smith and the girlfriend can be fined not exceeding $5000 or face two years in prison or both, or upon conviction before the Supreme Court, to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or imprisonment for five years or both.

Exposing Child to Grievous Harm

This is the second charge for the girlfriend. She is accused of exposing or abandoning Bella which resulted in harm to the child. This charge carries seven years.



Try Not to Cringe. Daxon Asks Campbell About His Extramarital Affairs During Cross Examination

Attorney Maria Daxon, representing a woman accused of libel against Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell questioned him about his romantic relationships during the trial yesterday in the Magistrates Court.

During her line of questioning which seemed cringy at times, Daxon asks Campbell, “Have you ever had a sweetheart?” She further asked Campbell if he had a son as a result of an illicit affair.

Daxon was immediately overruled by Magistrate Samuel McKinney who accused Daxon of going on a “fishing expedition.”

“This is not an inquiry. This is a trial,” McKinney reprimanded.

The big story

Campbell gave evidence in court yesterday during the trial of Capprio Saunders who is charged with intentional libel after releasing a voice note accusing the cabinet minister of impregnating the daughter of an alleged sweetheart.

In the voice note, the woman is heard telling listeners that Campbell told the woman “not to kill the baby” and that his wife “broke up all the glass in their house” when she heard of the situation.

What Minister Frankie Campbell said during the trial

Cambell called the claims made against him “untrue.”

He told the court, “I was most appalled as the father of three beautiful daughters and the grandfather of a beautiful granddaughter, at suggestions that I would have had sex with them.

“In my professional capacity, it’s most embarrassing having had the privilege to represent the Bahamas as part of the United Nations speaking out against matters such as these.

“Since then, I have been the butt of many unpleasant jokes and subjected to ridicule and embarrassment,” Campbell said.

What the officer in charge of the Digital Forensic and Investigation Unit said

Sargeant 1492 Dale Strachan said when he questioned the accused, she admitted that it was her voice in the recording.

He said the woman told him she had no information on who the purported “sweetheart” was but retrieved the allegations from a Facebook post which she did not verify before recording the voice note.

The trial will resume on August 4.

Man Faces Court for Slitting Throat of Relatives

The 29-year-old man responsible for the killing of his grandmother and the attempted murder of his mother was arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, to face charges.

Rico Pratt pleaded not guilty to killing 69-year-old Gelena Pratt and causing harm to 51-year-old Aretha Pratt.

He was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Corrections and will return to court on April 21st, 2021.


The elder Pratt was found dead on the bathroom floor of her home following a domestic dispute in Shabak Close off Bellot Road. She was found with injuries to the body which police said were a result of “a sharp object.”

She is a pastor at Calvary Deliverance Church. In a Facebook post, the church remembered her as “a wonderful mother and friend to many and a mighty warrior in the kingdom.”

Aretha Pratt is said to be in critical condition in hospital after suffering a slit throat.

Man Tells Police He Wanted Attention After Breaking Woman’s Glass Door

A 46-year-old man told the court that he broke a woman’s office door because he was looking for “attention” and wanted the police to arrest him.

Courtney Gardiner faced four months in jail for throwing an object at Bernadette Whylly’s glass door, causing $768 worth of damages.

Whylly said in her police report that the object was thrown through the door at 10 am on  Wednesday. She then made an official complaint with the police. Whylly said she does not know Gardiner.

When police arrested him, he admitted the offense and told the Grove police officers that he planned to “play crazy” when he is brought before the Magistrate’s Court.

He pleaded guilty to one count of damage and was sentenced to four months to the Bahamas Department of Corrections.

Estelhomme Tells Police He is a ‘Smith.’ He was Charged

A 24-year-old man gave police a fake name when police stopped and searched him, but later came clean, admitting that he lied.

Kevin Estelhomme was stopped and searched by police on Baillou Hill Road on October 28th, saying his name is Jamal Smith.

Estelhomme revealed his true identity when police questioned him further. He was then arrested and charged.

Estelhomme said he was scared and intoxicated.

So, Magistrate Ambrose Ambrister fined him $100 or two weeks in jail when he appeared in the Magistrate’s Court, after pleading guilty.

Woman Posts Stolen Jewelry to Social Media and Gets Caught by Friend

A 26-year-old woman faced the Magistrates’s Court on Monday after posting a picture of herself adorned in jewelry stolen from a friend’s house.

Lashan Rolle pleaded guilty to stealing an Apple watch, Pandora necklace and chain, Michael Kors watch, and pair of replica David Yurman earring from her friend Waltia Burrows.

Rolle is accused of stealing the items on September 12th after Burrows invited a group of friends to her house.

Burrows saw her stolen items on social media after Rolle posted a picture wearing the watch and earring.

Police was alerted and Rolle was subsequently questioned and charged.

Rolle was sentenced to 12 months probation and 100 hours of community service. She was also charged to pay Burrows nearly $600 for the items that were not recovered.