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Prosecutor says Al Miller acted in the interest of 'Dudus'

Published:Thursday | May 5, 2016 | 5:00 AMLivern Barrett
Miller

A prosecutor yesterday asserted that the actions of popular pastor the Reverend Merrick 'Al' Miller on the day Christopher 'Dudus' Coke was captured in June 2010 was "in the interest" of the then fugitive.

"The Crown is submitting that he (Miller) was not acting in the interest of the State," argued Crown Counsel Larona Montague-Williams as she presented her closing arguments in Miller's corruption trial before the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

Miller, who is the pastor of the St Andrew-based Fellowship Tabernacle Church, is on trial for attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was charged after Coke was found in a sport utility vehicle he was driving along the Mandela Highway in St Catherine on June 22, 2010.

He will know his fate on June 14 when parish judge Simone Wolfe-Reece is scheduled to deliver her verdict.

Police personnel have testified that the clergyman twice ignored their orders to stop then led them on a high-speed chase that reached up to 130kph before they had to use a service vehicle to force the SUV off the road.

 

NO ATTEMPT TO DECEIVE

 

Miller's lead attorney, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, in her closing argument, disputed this account and insisted that there was no attempt by the clergyman to deceive the police.

Noting that Coke was well-known to members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Samuels-Brown said when her client was signalled to stop, he complied and acknowledged to police personnel who approached his vehicle that the then fugitive was his passenger.

"You stop the vehicle with the bounty you are looking for and you don't arrest him (Miller)? You don't charge him and take him to the police station?" the attorney questioned.

"Why you don't take him (Miller) in for breach of the Road Traffic Act and hold him until you deal with the bounty? That was never done ... it just doesn't make sense," she insisted.

But seeking to counter this claim, Montague-Williams urged Wolfe-Reece to accept the account given by police personnel that Miller did not voluntarily stop his vehicle when ordered to.

"The court has to ask the question, why concoct a story about attempts to stop Mr Miller and a (high-speed) chase?" she submitted.

"Was it a case of 'Driver, don't stop at all'?" she asked, quoting a line from the hit song Driver by incarcerated entertainer Buju Banton.

"This court has to determine whether there was a chase or whether, as the accused man has said, it was an ordinary day of Driving Miss Daisy," she continued, making reference to the movie done by American film-makers.

Coke was wearing a wig at the time he was captured.

Pointing to the evidence of police personnel who acknowledged that Miller assisted with getting other members of the Coke clan to surrender to police at the time, Samuels-Brown has urged the presiding judge to find that the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com