Judge To Decide: Hear Or Dismiss Backtracking Fahie Jurors

A Florida federal judge must decide what to do with two jurors who may have changed their minds in the conviction of disgraced former BVI Premier Andrew Fahie. (Photo: still from GIS video)

A federal judge in Miami was poised Thursday to decide what to do about two jurors who have backtracked on their votes in the unanimous drug-trafficking conviction of former British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie.

After the jury foreperson said Fahie was guilty on all counts — conspiracy to commit money laundering, attempted money laundering, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering in a bid to make Tortola a major stopover for ships laden with drugs bound for the U.S. — the judge polled each of the jurors. All 12 said they agreed Fahie was guilty.

But in a seemingly unprecedented twist, two of the jurors lingered after the jury was dismissed and told court officers they were still unsure on at least one of the charges, according to court documents. One juror even left a voicemail for Fahie’s attorney. The content of the message has not yet been made public, but prosecutors and Fahie’s attorneys filed their briefs with the court after listening to it.

Prosecutors and Fahie’s attorneys filed their proposed courses of action. Prosecutors said it would be improper to consider the jurors’ “buyers’ remorse” because they were given ample opportunity to express themselves, and now that the jury has been dismissed, all 12 have been able to read news articles about the case and talk freely amongst themselves and others. Further, precedent around reconsidering or nullifying a jury’s decision relies on very specific situations, like improper outside influence or intimidation on a jury, racial or other bias by a juror, unclear jury instructions, or a literal mistake on a jury verdict form. Aside from those instances, it is improper for anyone — including jurors — to second guess, revisit, or “impeach” a jury’s decision after the fact. To do so would throw the entire trial-by-jury system into peril, prosecutors said.

Fahie’s council filed papers with the court asking for a limited probe of the two jurors to find out which charge they were undecided on. They said it was especially important as the conspiracy to import cocaine charge carried a mandatory 10-year sentence.

Prosecutors countered that a jury’s decision was a jury’s decision no matter the penalty, including a death sentence. But Fahie’s attorney pointed to local court rules that “may allow counsel to interview jurors to determine whether their verdict is subject to legal challenge, and may limit the time, place, and circumstances under which the interviews may be conducted.”

What happens after that “interview” was not clear.

Fahie, the BVI’s former Ports Authority Managing Director, Oleanvine Pickering Maynard, and her son were caught in a federal drug sting in April 2022. Fahie and company thought they were making a deal with a Mexican drug cartel when in fact it was federal agents, according to prosecutors.

Maynard, 32, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in November to 57 months in prison on a single charge of conspiracy to import cocaine. Pickering Maynard, who testified against Fahie, also pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced on Feb. 22.