Sat | Nov 25, 2017

Ford is a caring person, 'Babsy' testifies during sentencing hearing

Published:Saturday | October 28, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Dr Jephthah Ford arriving for his sentencing hearing yesterday at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

Veteran politician Olivia 'Babsy' Grange believes it would be traumatic for hundreds of Jamaicans if medical doctor Jephthah Ford is sent to prison.

Grange, who is the minister of sports, culture and gender affairs, and entertainment, as giving character evidence during Ford's sentencing hearing in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court yesterday.

Grange admitted that she was a little emotional as she took the witness stand and described Ford as a caring person who has saved many lives and provided free health care to countless persons.

"He cares about people regardless of their status in life or their political persuasion," she testified, acknowledging their affiliation to opposing political parties.

"Our political differences has never affected our relationship," she added.

Dr Ford was convicted of corruption charges in August.

Prosecutor Joel Brown led evidence during the trial that the well-known medical doctor offered a police investigator millions of dollars to free two Surinamese men in addition to the $55 million they were held with during a police operation near Half-Way Tree in St Andrew in 2014.

 

Secretly recorded video

 

The trial featured a secretly recorded video of a meeting between Ford and the police investigator.

According to the investigator, it was during that meeting that Ford told him that the charges against the two men were "spurious and could not see the light of day" and asked him to indicate an amount he would accept to set them free.

Ford was found guilty of two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice by Senior Parish Judge Simone Wolfe Reece.

Grange testified that she has known Ford for 37 years and said he has been her family doctor for decades.

She also disclosed that Ford has treated scores of persons she has recommended to him free of cost.

"He has been doing that for me since I was a senator," she recounted.

The hearing will continue on November 2.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com