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Kern case off to a heated start - Prosecution asked to provide more to defence

Published:Tuesday | January 5, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn yesterday found herself on the ropes as she led evidence against Kern Spencer and Coleen Wright in the Cuban light-bulb corruption trial in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

Llewellyn, who was adducing evidence from star witness, Rodney Chin, found herself in problems with the defence counsel, who objected to Chin being shown company documents to verify that he had signed them.

Chin had given evidence that Wright gave him blank documents, which he signed. Yesterday, Llewellyn had to change course and redo a line of questions as Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey refused to allow the company documents to be passed to Chin for his verification.

Pusey said the fact that Chin said he had signed blank documents meant, that he could not identify the company documents.

The matter was, however, resolved after Llewellyn got permission to ask Chin if there was anything on the documents he recognised.

Chin looked at them and said his signature was on them.

Audio conversations

Earlier, Llewellyn was delayed at the starting gate after Wright's attorney, K.D. Knight, said there were discrepancies regarding the evidence surrounding audio conver-sations captured on cellular phone by Chin.

Knight told the court that a statement from Chin indicated that two cellular phones were handed over to the police, yet a statement from the police spoke to the existence of one cellular phone.

"Something was not disclosed," Knight said.

However, Llewellyn attempted to downplay the significance of two phones, arguing that only one contained recordings.

Pusey stopped Llewellyn in her tracks, saying something was amiss and ordered that a further statement be prepared about the other cellular phone and served on the defence.

Knight, however, was not amused and he described Llewellyn's handling of the matter as "a comedy".

Meanwhile, Chin testified that he received 10 contracts under the governing Jamaica Labour Party administration, compared to over 100 under the former People's National Party government.

Chin also said that he decided to end his association with counsel Valrie Neita-Robertson and hire Heron Dale and Richard Small because she was not prepared.

Corruption charges

North East St Elizabeth Member of Parliament Spencer and his co-accused, Wright, are answering money laundering and corruption charges. They are alleged to have improperly benefited from the implementation of an energy-saving project that took place in Jamaica between 2006 and 2007.

Chin was charged jointly before the charges were withdrawn by Llewellyn.

He told the court that he received no favours or inducements to become a Crown witness. He said that he made up his mind to "tell the truth after reading something on the wall about organised crime while being arrested".

"I waited until the time was right," said Chin, adding that he received no money from the implementation of the light-bulb project, neither was he involved in the preparation of invoices which were handed over to the Government for payment.

The trial continues today at which time Chin is expected to be cross-examined by a battery of defence counsels, made up of Knight, Patrick Atkinson, Franklin Halliburton and Deborah Martin.