(CMR) Assistant Chief Immigration Officer for compliance, Jeannie Lewis (60) had charges against her dismissed earlier today. The verdict was delivered after very little deliberation. Magistrate Kirty-Ann Gunn found that the Crown had not met the required burden of proof in the charges.
Lewis was in court on Wednesday; almost three years to the exact date of her initial arrest to answer to charges relating allowing her son to deal drugs from her home and knowingly harboring an illegal immigrant. Lewis home was raided and drugs were found on the premises.
Lewis had always maintained her innocence throughout the entire ordeal and took the stand in her own defense. Lewis stated that she had always maintained a strict stance against drugs of any kind. She maintained that she was unaware that her son had been smoking ganja with his friends on her property.
Magistrate Gunn believed it was entirely possible that Lewis was not going into her adult son's room; where the drugs were found. She also felt that the police may not have properly handled a small bag of ganja they claimed was on a table in a common area.
Lewis admitted that she had previously suspected her son may have been smoking ganja and contacted a member of the drug task force to speak with him. However, she believed she had scared him straight. The Crown maintained that she was purposely turning a blind eye to wrongdoing in her home.
On the second offense, she was charged after an illegal Bahamian man, her son's friend was found to be staying in her house for a few weeks. She testified that she was not aware that he had been staying at her house and had only seen him a few times visiting. However, he was arrested at the time of the raid.
Magistrate Gunn accepted given Lewis's status in immigration she would have reported the illegal man had she known of his illegal status. She essentially threw out the case on both counts.
Lewis is a veteran immigration manager with over 30 years of experience in that department. The court heard how she maintained an exemplary employment record during that time. Many of her colleagues were shocked at the allegations and have maintained their belief in her innocence the entire time. One shared with CMR:
Jeannie has always been such an authentic person who genuinely cares for people and would go out of her way for anyone. She helps other unconditionally. Both her work and personal colleagues all speak well of her.Lewis supporter
In fact, colleagues shared that even though she was going through a public ordeal with this case she continued to be supportive of her work colleagues despite being on required leave for the past three years. Another worker recalls:
While she was dealing with this stress an immigration officer lost a family member. Jeannie made herself available to cook and help out at a staff function to show her support of that employee.Immigration employee
Lewis is the third high profile immigration officer over the past three years that has been acquitted of charges brought against them.