Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
The Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA) got a tongue lashing from lawyers and the presiding magistrate at the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday for employing tardy investigative practices.
The censure came when it was revealed that several documents in the case of Anthony Stewart and Felicia Lindo, who were arrested during an operation by MOCA for alleged involvement in the illicit lottery scam last month, had not been placed on the prosecution's file as of Tuesday, September 3.
Stewart and Lindo, who are both of Bogue Village in Montego Bay, were arrested on August 23, when members of MOCA carried out a search of their house, during which several papers containing overseas contact information, US$1040 and J$10,000 were reportedly seized. They were each offered bail in the sum of $500,000 with three sureties, and their case was set for mention on September 30.
OPPOSITION TO DELAY
Attorney-at-law Morrel Beckford, who represented Lindo, argued that the court should not sanction the investigating officer's delay in readying the case file for submission.
"The Bail Act says that no one can be held for more than 24 hours without bail being considered. The police, having charged them, did not submit the file until yesterday … . I do not think the court should sanction that. That cannot be right," Beckford told Resident Magistrate Wilson Smith.
Stewart's lawyer, Kenneth McLeod, said that he and Beckford had not received thorough documentation to represent their clients.
"We asked for the charges and the allegations, and we got copies of question-and-answer sessions with no relevance," McLeod complained.
But Clerk of the Court Sheryl Robinson disputed the lawyers' claims, saying that all the documents for the case were ready.
RM Smith subsequently ordered the investigating officer to speed up the investigative process in the case.