Sun | Jul 21, 2019

Manchester MC Fraud Trial | Documents drama continues to plague case

Published:Saturday | July 13, 2019 | 12:19 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester:

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has suggested that an independent examiner be hired to help bring closure to the weeks-long contention over documents between defence attorneys and prosecutors in the multimillion-dollar Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial.

While Llewellyn says that the prosecution has handed over all the information in its possession, the defence maintains that there are documents that they have not been privy to because they can’t be found on the CDs or among the files they have been given.

Apologising for errors on the part of the prosecution, Llewellyn said that the information they received and with which they were presented by the relevant agencies, including the Major Organised Crime and Anti -Corruption Agency, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Integrity Commission, and the Financial Investigations Division.

She suggested that the defence and prosecution have a sit-down with an independent digital examiner, paid by the Ministry of Justice, to review all the CDs and help both parties determine what documents, if any, are missing.

However, parish judge Ann-Marie Grainger said she was not in agreement with the hiring of an examiner paid by the ministry as it could be argued that said individual was not truly independent.

Grainger maintained that the prosecution and defence should set a date for a meeting to comb through the files.

Attorney Delford Morgan requested that the solutions be timely, adding that the challenges currently being faced were increasing instead of decreasing.

Having been presented with additional documents yesterday, the defence again lamented that the continued surfacing of new documents could be unfair to their clients.

“How is it, My Lady, that this volume of disclosure can be made in this fashion? I have never in my several decades at the criminal Bar encountered such incompetence. I don’t know how on God’s Earth we can even begin to cross-examine witnesses. At what point can we begin to say, ‘No more’?” Morgan blasted.

DUTY TO DISCLOSE

Grainger acknowledged that while the prosecution had an ongoing duty to disclose, there had to be some changes.

“When will we finish the trial if I have to keep adjourning?” she asked?

The DPP said that a detailed road map with all the relevant documents would be provided to defence to facilitate smooth progress for the rest of the trial.

Meanwhile, the 14th witness, a manager from the financial institution where the fraudulent cheques were being encashed, was called to the stand yesterday.

In detailed accounts of the institution’s mode of operation, the 18-year veteran at the bank detailed the process of training tellers. She mentioned anti-money laundering and bribery guidelines as well as the bank’s code of conduct as among the topics overed in training courses.

Charged in the matter are former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the corporation, Sanja Elliott; former director of finance and secretary manager, David Harris; former temporary works overseer, Kendale Roberts; bank employee Radcliffe McLean; Elliott’s wife, Tasha-Gaye Goulbourne-Elliott; his caretaker, Dwayne Sibbles; and his parents, Myrtle and Edwardo Elliott.

The trial will take a break and resume on Monday, September 9.

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