Simmons issues warning to attorneys and witnesses involved in Enquiry
There is an appeal from chairman of the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry Sir David Simmons for attorneys and witnesses involved in the hearings to get familiar with the section of the Commission of Enquiry Act that deals with fraud and misrepresentation.
The warning came after attorneys for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) indicated that they had concerns about witness statements submitted by some residents of Tivoli Gardens following the May 2010 police-military operations to apprehend drug kingpin Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.
JDF attorney Linton Gordon has declined to make those concerns public, but signalled yesterday that he was interested in the statements provided by two residents of Tivoli Gardens, Gloria Pitter and Hortense Pitter.
On Monday the commission got fresh statements from both women.
The statements were collected last weekend by the Tivoli Committee, a group that claims to represent residents of the west Kingston community.
However, it has now emerged that the Tivoli Committee is claiming to appear on behalf of persons already being represented by the Office of the Public Defender and attorney-at-law Alexander Williams.
Gordon sought to make it clear that he was not accusing the women of any wrongdoing, but told the commission that his checks have revealed that some Tivoli Gardens residents have given several versions of their experiences during the operation.
He says he wants an opportunity to cross check them.
Responding to the concerns, Sir David said the two witness statements would be made available to the JDF attorneys.
He had a word of advice for attorneys and witnesses giving evidence before the commission.
Section 11 of the Act says, among other things, that a person shall not give evidence before the commission that is false or misleading.
It says a person who contravenes this subsection commits an offence and is liable, on conviction before a Resident Magistrate, to a fine not exceeding $1 million or six months in prison.
Simmons has scheduled a meeting for Friday morning with Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry, Williams and attorney for the Tivoli Committee, Michael Williams, to discuss the issue.