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Jamaican divorce scam lands man in court for bigamy

A Jamaican man is cleared of a single charge of bigamy in Grand Court.

On Tuesday (16 July) Crown Prosecutor Nicole Petit offered no evidence in the case against Melvin Samuel Williams.

Mr. Williams denied the charge on the grounds that he had filed for a divorce through the Jamaican Supreme Court, which he thought was granted.

His defence attorney Dennis Brady argued that Mr. Williams was the victim of a divorce scam dating back to 2017 which was based out of Jamaica and involved several members of the Jamaican Judiciary. Mr. Brady pointed to reports from the several Jamaican media houses which stated that the scam reached as high as members of the Jamaican Supreme Court.

The divorce scam saw people paying several thousand dollars to file for their divorce. The money was said to have been received by officials in the Jamaican Judiciary, some of whom were alleged to have pocketed it and then issued fraudulent divorce certificates.

When explaining the reason behind the decision to offer no evidence against Mr. Williams, Ms. Petit said the news articles were not a deciding factor; rather it was the additional evidence provided by the defendant that helped to sway their minds.

The Prosecutor told Justice Roger Chapple their case was circumstantial and depended on evidence from JN Money Transfer  (a remittance services company) which stated that there was no record of Mr. Williams sending any money to pay for a divorce. However, Mr. Williams is said to have provided a JN Money Transfer receipt with an undisclosed sum of cash. Ms. Petit stated that it was implausible to think that Mr. Williams would have paid such a large sum of money to obtain a false divorce certificate.

In light of the Prosecution’s decision, Justice Chapple returned a not guilty verdict against the single charge of bigamy and released Mr. Williams.

Mr. Williams declined to go on camera, but he told Cayman 27 he thanked God that the ordeal was over.

Cayman 27’s Andrel Harris joined News Anchor Kafara Augustine to discuss the possible ramifications of Mr. Williams’ case as it relates to the wider Jamaican community in Cayman. To view that interview click on the video.

About the author

Andrel Harris

Andrel Harris

After completing high school in Cayman, Andrel Harris joined the news team as a Reporter Trainee in 2013. Now he serves as a reporter/producer, as well as the 'Cayman 27 Today' anchor. He also contributes to the talk shows and present weather forecasts. He hails from the district of North Side.

"Working with Cayman 27 has been a rewarding and eye opening experience. Through the power of the media, I've been able to help give a voice to the people living in Cayman." - Andrel Harris

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