Detectives investigate fraudulent document
Police have launched a probe into how a sex offender convicted in July got a court letter that said he had not been in trouble with the law for the past three years, it was revealed yesterday.
A police spokesman said that a complaint about Malik Zuill “regarding use of a fraudulent document has been received and inquiries are under way”.
He was speaking after Alexandra Wheatley, the Supreme Court Registrar, confirmed on Thursday that the letter given to Zuill was an error by the court system.
Ms Wheatley did not explain how the court document was “issued incorrectly”.
Ms Wheatley said that she would not “have an opportunity to respond in a meaningful way” until yesterday afternoon, but she did not respond to a request for further comment.
She said on Thursday: “I can, however, indicate in the interim that the letter issued to Mr Zuill was issued incorrectly and was an error of the courts.”
Ms Wheatley added: “A new letter has been produced reflecting Mr Zuill’s true conviction position.
“However, I have no authority whatsoever to disclose a document which has been requested by another party and contains private and confidential information.”
Zuill was convicted in July of the luring and sexual assault of an underage girl — but claimed to have no convictions in the past three years.
He sent a court-issued letter to the British Broadcasting Corporation that confirmed his “innocence” after they broadcast a television show that featured his arrest as a fugitive in Liverpool.
Zuill sent the same letter to The Royal Gazette and insisted that the story about his arrest in England should be removed from the newspaper’s website.
But Larry Mussenden, the Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions, later confirmed that Zuill was convicted and sentenced to five months imprisonment in July, as reported by the BBC and The Royal Gazette. Mr Mussenden declined further comment.
Zuill was due to face his charges in Magistrates’ Court early last year, but moved to Britain before a court appearance.
He was later found to be working as a cleaner in a hostel in Liverpool and arrested by officers from London’s Metropolitan Police.
Zuill was extradited to the island on April 24 and remanded in custody until his trail date on July 1. He pleaded guilty to a sex assault on an underage girl and the use of a phone to commit the act.
He was sentenced to five months imprisonment a week later, but was released immediately because of time served in custody.
Zuill’s arrest was featured in an episode of the BBC One television programme Fugitives, which followed the work of a specialist police unit. The Royal Gazette reported Zuill’s appearance in the programme last month.
Zuill later sent the court letter, dated August 21, to The Royal Gazette in an e-mail.
The letter said: “Re: Malik Zuill. D.O.B. December 28, 1996. “The above captioned individual has no criminal convictions recorded at the courts in the past three (3) years.”
It carried a stamp with the seal of the Magistrates’ Court of Bermuda and was signed by Donneisha Butterfield, Court Associate.
Zuill said in the email: “I am asking that you have the article published removed immediately for legal reasons.
“If you cannot comply, I will be forced to take legal action. I have copied in my lawyer, if you have any queries.”
Elizabeth Christopher, Zuill’s defence lawyer during the trial, was copied into his e-mail.
She did not respond to requests for comment.
Magistrates’ Court staff confirmed on Tuesday that Donneisha Butterfield worked at court services.
Ms Butterfield could not be contacted for comment.
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