Judge puts brakes on new documents
Presiding judge Ann-Marie Grainger yesterday rejected 29 documents the prosecution was attempting to have admitted into evidence as the $400-million Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial continued in the Manchester Parish Court.
It is believed that among the documents are invoices and cheques that were seized during a Financial Investigations Division and Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency raid of the corporation in 2016 after irregularities were discovered.
The prosecution and defence have been at odds almost daily over the presentation of new documents by prosecutors in the trial, which got under way last Monday.
“I’m not expecting this to be happening after three years,” the judge said yesterday, describing the affairs as untidy and haphazard.
Grainger said that while she would accommodate and make provisions for witnesses who are overseas, she would no longer accept documents that ought to have been disclosed well in advance.
The Crown maintained that they have an ongoing right to disclose but further stated that the exclusion of the documents would not be detrimental to the case.
Former deputy mayor of Mandeville and vice-chairman of the Manchester Municipal Corporation Ervin Facey took the stand yesterday and was asked to identify the signatories on a number of invoices and cheques.
He is expected to complete this assessment tomorrow and make way for two other witnesses currently on standby.
Reports are that several invoices, many in excess of $400,000, were submitted for work not done and were registered in the names of persons who were unaware that their identity was being used to validate the documents.
Charged in the matter are former acting secretary-manager and director of finance, David Harris; former Deputy Superintendent of Roads and Works Sanjay Elliott; temporary works overseer Kendale Roberts; former bank employee Radcliffe McLean; employee of Elliott, Dwayne Sibbles; Elliott’s mother, Mrytle Elliott; father, Edwardo Elliott; and Sanjay’s wife, Tasha-Gaye Goulbourne Elliott.
The trial will be relocated to the courthouse in Porus today. It is uncertain whether this is a temporary measure or for the remainder of the trial, which is scheduled to continue for at least another two weeks.