Krysta A. Mason-Smith
A.A., LL.B (hons), BVC, LL.M ,
Notary Public

SENIOR ASSOCIATE

CAREER

Miss Mason-Smith is the protégé of her Principal where she has earned the title of Senior Associate in his firm serving as the most Senior Counsel under him.  Since joining the firm in 2009, she has proven herself capable to be so entitled.  At the very start of her career she recalls being not only the most Junior Counsel but the only aid to her Principal which in effect made her jointly responsible for all the other duties, administrative or otherwise, necessary to keep an office successfully running daily.  She is honored to have been able to play an integral role in the expansion and development of the firm which, although still small, now has a staff size compliment of seven.  She also serves as the firm’s Supervisor being fully responsible for the ongoings of the practice when her Principal is sitting elsewhere or is out of Jurisdiction.  She has also been employed with the firm longer than any other Counsel, past or present.

Over the years she has been privileged to be an advocate in the High Courts/Appeal Courts of our Commonwealth and has worked on many “high profile” matters from the jump start of her career despite her “age on paper”. 

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Miss Mason-Smith also serves as a Crown Brief Advocate which is akin to a Public Defender, where she assists the government in providing legal services to those unable to retain private Counsel.  She currently serves as a Member on the Board of the Office of the Public Defender and is a Youth Ambassador to the International Organization IBWPPI.

Miss Mason-Smith also serves as Secretary of the Criminal Bar Association which is under the umbrella of the Bahamas Bar Association.  This arm of the Bahamas Bar aims to bring about positive change and influence in matters that affect Attorneys practicing at the Criminal Side of the bar.

A giver and a believer in giving back to society – Miss Mason-Smith is also the recent past Chairman of the Willie Mae Pratt Centre Visiting Committee (2016-2017) which is a Committee responsible for leading and directing social outreach and transformation for the residents of that Institution.  Said committee works directly under the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.

Also, being committed to the development of young people and her love of music, Miss Mason-Smith identified a group of young people from the inner city to create music in a structured environment to teach them discipline and give them a focus.  This resulted in a dynamic musical band which performed at various activities of prominence in the Country. Miss Mason-Smith invested in the life and growth of these young musicians through training and development sessions.  The young members of The Acoustic Band were exposed to national leaders and musicians that were able to mentor and coach them.  The members of her band have now gone on to serve as members of the National Youth Choir, Police band and/or their Church bands respectively.

A member of the Methodist Church, Miss Mason-Smith currently serves as a Youth Teacher instilling Godly principles into the teenage attendees as well as assisting with their training for the yearly Methodist Church examinations.

Being committed to the arts, Miss Mason-Smith is an active participant in our National Junkanoo Festivals where, if you’re lucky, you can witness her cool dance moves on the infamous Bay Street, Downtown, Nassau.   

While law is definitely her focus, she finds time to give back to her community and the atmosphere.

 

NOTABLE EVENTS

Honorary Panelist 

Bahamajac Conference,

Junior Achievement Bahamas

Under the theme “Tomorrow is Today”

 

Chairperson Candidate

Bahamas Bar Association Leadership Election

 

Advisor

The Legal Advice Centre

Under the direction of The University of Manchester (Manchester, England)

 

UoM Minority Representative

Ethnic Minorities in City Law Firms Conference (London, England)

International Attorney Training

The Bahamas Public Defender Advocacy Training Workshop

Under the direction of National Centre for State Courts,

USA based and Bahamian government (Nassau, Bahamas)

 

Shareholder & Investor Training

Securities Commission Training Programme

Under the direction of the Central Bank of The Bahamas

President Training

Key Club International Leadership Convention (Orlando, Florida)

Guest Speaker / Facilitator

Brother’s Keeper, Legal Information Clinic

 

Youth Leader Training 

The 17th Annual Conference of Youth Leaders (COBUS)

Under the direction of The College of The Bahamas

 

Active Member & Participant

Barbadian Bahamian Association

 

Participant

Project Europe (Travelling expedition across Europe with a focus  

on developing cross-cultural interaction and Spanish/French fluency)

ACHIEVEMENTS  

 

Representative

The Bahamas’ Criminal Justice Prison Reform Scheme

The Law Society, College of the Bahamas

 

Political Advocate

The Bahamas’ Youth in Parliament Platform

National Representative

The Bahamas National Youth Council (BNYC)

Gold Level Recipient

Governor General Youth Award (Duke of Edinburgh Award Equivalent)

 

Head Girl

Queen’s College

President (2 terms)                                           

Key Club, Bahamas

 

Most Distinguished President Award           

Key Club, Bahamas

 

Vice President, Speech Finalist,

Nominated Most Distinguished

Achiever (2 terms) and Top Ten Finalist

Junior Achievement Bahamas

 

Winner

Christian Life Speech Competition

Student Council Representative (2 terms)  

 

Form Captain (consecutive terms) 

 

Head Cheerleader

Implemented her high school’s first recognized cheerleading squad

 

Former Dance Troop Leader

 

Starting Forward    

Junior & Senior Girls Basketball Team

Only Female

UoM Basketball Team which then became co-ed

 

Debutante

 

Small Business Proprietor and Entrepreneur

                                                  

A few notable cases

 

  • Assistant Counsel – R V BRIDGEWATER [2009].  Probably the most highly publicized Supreme Court trial in the Bahamas as the Prosecution’s main witness was the famous Hollywood Star John Travolta.  At the jumpstart of her career, Miss Mason-Smith aided and assisted her Senior and Mentor Murrio D. Ducille, Esq. during this trial particularly when it came to her input on complex legal issues and issues which required her research.  Media coverage extended internationally.  Freeport based Attorney and former Member of Parliament was accused of the bribery and extortion of Travolta.  During the first trial it was pronounced on live television at a political rally that Bridgewater was acquitted however the Court had not yet finished delivering the jury’s verdict.  As a result a mistrial was ordered inasmuch as the verdict to be pronounced was favorable to Bridgewater.   Another trial date was set however the Crown thought best to dismiss the charges against Bridgewater closer to trial time.

 

  • Associate Defense Counsel – ANDREW DAVIS & ANTHONY ARMBRISTER v COMMISSIONER OF POLICE [2012] 2 BHS J NO. 40 – first Bahamian cases to challenge the proportionality principle on the heels of a new sentencing regime which imposed a mandatory minimum sentence of four (4) years on offenders for drug and firearm related offences without a Magistrate being able to assess the individuals personal circumstances ie. no previous convictions, early plea of guilt, in drug cases the small quantity of the drug.  While she did not litigate at the final hearing of the matter, she was fully responsible for the argument and bundle preparation relied on to achieve the firm and co-counsel’s goal.  This case is one of the closest to Miss Mason-Smith’s heart as she is a firm believer in 2nd chances, sometimes 3rd, appreciating that we are all human therefore subject to err.  She found it unfortunate to watch many young men, otherwise upstanding, goal oriented and striving, be subjected to such a sentence for what was often times a minuscule amount of cannabis because of the way it was packaged.  She watched experimental college students and hard working family providers become victims of this regime while the rest of the world were taking huge steps to legalize the prohibited substance in larger doses than her clients were arrested for.  These matters were also the first cases which sought to challenge the regime from a constitutional aspect before successfully being done in Robinson’s Case [2014].  The matters were presided over by The Honorable President of the Court of Appeal Dame Anita Allen, as she then was, and the Honorable Justices of Appeal Justices Blackman and Conteh, as they then were.

 

  • Associate Defense Counsel – BARRINGTON ROBINSON CRI/CON 26/2013 [2014] which argued the Constitutionality of a recent regime of imposing a mandatory minimum sentence starting point of four (4) years for Dangerous Drug and Firearm Possession cases.  Miss Mason-Smith was responsible for preparing the entire legal bundle and arguments relied on in this case while Mr. Murrio D. Ducille, Esq. was lead Counsel and litigated the arguments.  The Honorable Senior Justice Jon Isaacs, as he then sat, did not consider the constitutionality arguments during the original Constitutional Application and thereby dismissed the motion.  However, on appeal to the Honorable Court of Appeal their Lordships found it necessary to allow Robinson’s appeal and remit the matter to the Supreme Court for the Learned Justice to consider the Constitutional arguments.  During the second hearing before the Senior Justice and upon consideration of the constitutional arguments, he declared that the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences were unconstitutional which resulted in the Magistrate’s discretion in sentencing being returned to them.  Shortly thereafter Parliament moved and abolished the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences altogether.

 

  • Lead Counsel – R v ELANDRO MISSICK [2013-2014] on the heels of extensive legal arguments from Miss Mason-Smith and the Crown and before the Honorable Justice Indra Charles could hand down her ruling, the Crown sought fit to enter a Nolle Prosequi which discharged her client of the capital offence.  While Miss Mason-Smith anticipated and was hopeful for a favorable judgment, entering of the Nolle was a close second to the result she hoped for.  This was in fact Miss Mason-Smith’s first successful Murder trial which she conducted solo as lead Counsel.

 

  • Lead Counsel – R v SMITH [2014] successfully argued the constitutional application for Mr. Smith, a former policeman, who claimed that the ten (10) year delay in having his indictable matter tried in the Supreme Court of the Bahamas was prejudicial to him and a breach of his Article 20 Constitutional Rights.  The result of this application was such that a permanent stay of the long outstanding proceedings was ordered by Senior Justice Jon Isaacs, as he then sat, the effect of which was that the matter immediately came to a close.

 

  • Lead Counsel – R v RAYMOND HANNA [2014] the jury was directed to acquit Mr. Hanna on the heels of Article 20 (2) (d) arguments that a Criminal Defendant could in fact be excused from appearing at his trial with the consent of the Court and with good reason.  The arguments and deliberations surrounded the interpretation of Article 20(7) in conjunction with Sections 194 and 115(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code on whether it was mandatory for Hanna to appear for his Trial in light of his prior disclosed ailments of which the Crown and Court were made aware of via his Counsel, the hospital and the prison service.  The ruling of the Honorable Senior Justice Vera Watkins, now Chief Justice of the Bahamas (Actg.), was very important to jurisprudence in this instance as she reestablished that “there was no requirement in law for the defendant to assist the prosecution in proving its case” no matter the effect on their case and proceeded to stress “the importance of upholding the Constitutional rights of the individual [as] was highlighted by the Board in the Privy Council case of Ronald George Simmons, Robert G. Greene v The Queen, Privy Council Appeal No. 33 of 2005”.  The matter was not challenged on Appeal by the Crown.

 

  • Lead Counsel – R v YOVANNY GARLAND SCCRAPP 187/2016 [2016].  On the heels of the successful overturn of convictions in the case of THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (APPELLANT) v CHEVANESE HALL (RESPONDENT) [2016] UKPC 28 which was argued at the Court of Appeal by her Principal Murrio D. Ducille, Esq., Garland’s case was the first to test the outcome of Hall’s decision at the Supreme Court level.  It was argued that the offence for which Garland was held in custody and before the Court on was in fact null and void therefore the Court had no jurisdiction to hold him in custody let alone entertain the matter.  The Honorable Justice Ian Winder agreed ruling in Mason-Smith’s favour however the Crown sought to challenge his release and disposal of the matter on Appeal to the Honorable Court of Appeal.  Nevertheless, the arguments proffered by Mason-Smith before their Lordships were successful and Mr. Garland’s immediate release from custody was ordered.  The matter was presided over by Dame Anita Allen President, as she then was, and their Lordships the Honorable Justices Mr. Jon Isaacs and Ms. Crane-Scott.      

 

  • Lead Counsel – successfully argued on appeal MICHAEL RUSSELL v ATTORNEY GENERAL, COMMISSIONER OF POLICE ET AL [2018] the remainder of the Respondents being seven police officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.  After a successful outcome before the Honorable Court of Appeal, the Respondents via the Attorney General’s Office lodged an application for leave to appeal to the Privy Council however upon further consideration of the point argued withdrew their application.  This case is important to jurisprudence as it is the first in this jurisdiction to allow a writ filed jointly against a government entity as well as against police officers outside of the umbrella of their office to be considered by a High Court outside of the usual twelve (12) month limitation prescribed for civil suits against the Government and/or their agents.  The arguments surrounded whether the writ filed was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the process of the court therefore statute barred.  It also discussed the breach of an individual duty owed by a public authority to an individual person as opposed to the public generally with the leading authority relied on emanating from the Privy Council Judgment in Alves v Attorney General of the Virgin Islands [2017] UKPC 42 and the Public Authorities Protection Act. The Crown argued that the Learned Judge below was correct to strike out the writ however His Lordship the Hon. President Sir Hartman Longley as well as their Lordships the Hon. Ms. Justice Crane-Scott and the Hon. Sir Michael Barnett (Actg.), were of a different view.