Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The Court of Appeal has said that attorney-at-law Harold Brady's appeal was allowed on the basis that the prosecution failed to present the entire story of what took place when he refused to testify at the Manatt-Coke commission of enquiry.
Last week, the court quashed Brady's conviction for refusing to testify and set aside his sentence. Brady, who was represented by attorneys-at-law Georgia Gibson-Henlin and Marc Jones, had filed an appeal after Resident Magistrate Georgianna Fraser had convicted him on December 11, 2011 and fined him $500 or 10 days' imprisonment.
Brady's appeal was allowed on three of the eight grounds that were argued before president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Seymour Panton; Justice Dennis Morrison and Justice Patrick Brooks.
The court was asked on those three grounds to determine whether the resident magistrate erred in fining that the phrase "without sufficient cause" in the Commissions of Enquiry Act was not an element of the crime, but rather a statutory defence that imposed an evidential burden on Brady.
In handing down its reasons yesterday, the court said that the charge was that Brady, being a witness, refused without sufficient cause to answer questions put to him by the commission of enquiry. The court said it was an undisputed fact that Brady attended the commission and offered reasons for refusing to give evidence. He also filed a notice of objection and an affidavit setting out his reasons.
NEED TO PRESENT ALL FACTS
"It is our view that in any prosecution of the appellant consequent on his stance, it was obligatory for the prosecution to place the contents of the notice of objection and the affidavit before the learned resident magistrate for her consideration as to whether there was indeed a refusal without sufficient cause. The prosecution was required to present the entire story, not just a part of it," the court held.
Brady figured prominently in the hiring of United States lobby firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips on behalf of the Jamaica Labour Party at the height of the Christopher 'Dudus' Coke extradition saga in 2010.
He was summoned to court after he refused to testify at the Manatt-Dudus commission of enquiry in 2011. Brady had previously cited lawyer-client privilege as his reason for refusing to testify at the enquiry.