Sun | Sep 25, 2016

It's a matter for gov't

Published:Tuesday | March 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

At the risk of adding to the "desperate drivel" attorney-at-law Gordon Robinson has discerned in the public domain over the controversial Coke extradition case, let it be noted that in his admirable dissection of the Extradition Treaty and the Interception Communications Act, he concedes that unauthorised telephone wiretapping is, prima facie, a violation of a Jamaican law. (Any person may ultimately have a defence to the charge, as he/she would if charged with any other violation of any other Act.)

So here we have a foreign government, either through its own agents or local ones, on the face of it, violating the Jamaican wiretap law by not obtaining authorisation when it knows perfectly well that the Jamaican law requires it.

Whether or not such illegally obtained wiretap evidence is ultimately determined to be admissible by a court in any particular extradition proceeding, that very illegal act itself by a foreign government, without more, represents a flagrant disrespect for that country's law and, by extension, its sovereignty. That's not, strictly, a legal issue.

It then expects, by pressure of issuing condemna-tory reports, that the Government, through its chief law officer, will acquiesce in the thumbing of its nose at its own wiretap law by exercising its discretion and send off to the courts an extradition case founded on such a prime facie violation !

'Dissing' j'can law

Merely to think of that is enough for our national heroes (and a couple deceased prime ministers) to turn in their graves.

Dealing with a foreign government's clear dissing of a Jamaican law (and, more important, preventing its repeat with other Jamaican citizens) goes well beyond the individual involved here, the merits of the case, the evidentiary issue so ably examined by Robinson, crime rates, corruption, visas, partisan politics, etc., and is properly a matter to be resolved by the government of the offended country (not the courts) by insisting that the foreign government adhere to the letter of Jamaican law.

I am, etc,

ERROL W. A. TOWNSHEND

ewat@rogers.com

Ontario, Canada