Protected witness fined $7,000 for curfew breaches

Jonathan Ash (in black) heads to court with a member of his security detail

Nassau, BAHAMAS-Businessman Jonathan Ash today admitted selling alcohol in breach of a curfew imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Police arrested Ash after a video of him selling liquor at the Made Men Bar as police stood by went viral on social media.

The curfew that came into effect on March 20 closed non-essential businesses, including liquor stores.

Ash, 35, arrived to court with his police bodyguards in a blacked out unmarked police car.

He was charged with two violations of the curfew: failing to remain at home and selling liquor.

He pleaded guilty to both charges at his arraignment before Senior Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis.

The magistrate said that Ash’s “violation was blatant.”

Rolle-Davis said, “You showed a blatant disregard for the law and cannot go unscathed.”

He fined him $2,000 or nine months in prison for failing to remain inside and $5,000 or one year in prison for selling liquor during the ban.

Ash paid $2,000 of the fine today. He has until Friday to pay the balance.

Ash was the prosecution’s main witness in former Cabinet Minister Shane Gibson’s corruption trial.

Ash claimed he paid Gibson $200,000 in bribes to accelerate payments for cleanup work after Hurricane Matthew.

However, a jury rejected Ash’s claims and acquitted Gibson last year.

He was lined to up testify against Former Cabinet Minister Kenred Dorsett on March. Prosecutors allege that Ash paid Dorsett $120,000 in bribes.

But the trial did not happen because of the curfew.

Ash is in protective custody as part of the witness protection programme.