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Satterswaite's attorneys irked by prosecutors

Published:Friday | September 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

PROSECUTORS IN THE multimillion-dollar money-laundering case against Kingston attorney Dawn Satterswaite and four others yesterday came under fire after they sought to convince a magistrate not to toss out the charges while they await documents relevant to the case from United States (US) law-enforcement authorities.

"Having them before the court would cause the authorities to speed up disclosure in the matter," lead prosecutor Caroline Hay exhorted Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey.

Hay was responding to the defence attorneys, who had asked Pusey to either dismiss the charges or adjourn the case indefinitely because of the delay by prosecutors to proceed to trial.

Attorney-at-law Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, who represents Satterswaite, immediately blasted Hay's submission, arguing that it was "clear that they are proceeding on a basis external to seeking justice and doing justice".

Added Samuels-Brown: "She has confessed that there is an ulterior motive for keeping the matter before the court. I am appalled at the submissions of my learned friend, not in a personal way. But she has just given a classic reason why this case should be adjourned."

She was supported by another defence attorney, Ian Wilkinson, who argued that the court must take a stand against the longstanding practice by Jamaican law-enforcement personnel of arresting accused persons then searching for evidence.

NINE-MONTH WAIT

Wilkinson, who represents two of the accused persons - Janet Ramsay and Paulette Higgins - underscored that it has been nine months since they were arrested and placed before the court.

"We think the gestation period must be over," he said. "The baby has to be born … . The court must set an example so that the law-enforcement authorities understand."

Pusey also weighed in on the comment, saying it appeared to be an attempt to "manipulate the system".

She will decide on the application today.

But responding to the criticisms, Hay sought to make it clear that "there was no intent to manipulate the court processes".

She noted that while the documents being sought from US authorities would help prosecutors, there were enough materials locally to sustain the charges laid against Satterswaite, Ramsay, Higgins, Ann-Marie Cleary and André Hamilton.

"So to ascribe an ulterior motive is to take words said out of context," she insisted, admitting that she may have misspoke in the way she phrased her argument.

Before the attorneys had a chance to present their arguments to Pusey, Satterswaite and her co-accused were each slapped with 27 additional charges of money laundering when they turned up at the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

The fresh allegations will also be mentioned today.

The initial charges are based on allegations that over an 11-year period, starting in 1989, Satterswaite purchased properties valued at close to $500 million for Andrew Hamilton, a Jamaican who was convicted on drug charges in the US and is now serving a four-year prison sentence.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com