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Al Miller's attorney tackles senior cop

Published:Wednesday | November 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Policeman's testimony on Dudus' capture challenged

Livern Barrett,  Gleaner Writer

AN ATTORNEY for the Reverend Merrick 'Al' Miller yesterday sought to discredit one aspect of the testimony given by a senior police officer during the popular clergyman's corruption trial.

Deputy Superintendent Gary Chambers testified earlier this year that during a 2010 high-speed chase, which ended with the capture of then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, he and members of the police team he was travelling with had to wave their hands outside the service vehicle to signal Miller to stop the sport utility vehicle (SUV) he was driving.

Chambers, who had already completed his evidence in the trial, was recalled to the witness stand yesterday for further cross-examination, and Miller's attorney, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, sought to challenge the account.

Pointing out that Chambers gave his witness statement less than a month after the incident, Samuels-Brown questioned whether those details were included.

After he was allowed to peruse his statement, the senior police officer directed Miller's attorney to a section where he told investigators that "the emergency lights [of the police service vehicle] were on and we attempted to stop the vehicle".

But Samuels-Brown was not satisfied with that response and pressed Chambers for an explanation as to why his witness statement did not indicate, in detail, that he and other members of his team were waving their hands to Miller to stop the SUV.

"I did not think it was necessary to use those words in the original statement," Chambers replied, triggering an exchange between the two.

"Four years have passed [since the incident]. Did it occur to you to give a further statement outlining the evidence you gave from the witness stand?" Samuels-Brown questioned.

"No, ma'am," Chambers replied.

"And you know that if, by chance, you leave out the material aspect of a statement, you can give a further statement?" the attorney continued.

"That can't be answered with a yes or no," the senior officer replied.

Samuels-Brown also suggested to Chambers that he was lying when he testified that he used his hand to signal Miller to stop and that he was being disingenuous and evasive in his testimony, but the senior police officer rejected the suggestions.

"I told the truth and nothing but the truth," he insisted.

The case has been set for mention next Thursday, giving prosecutors time to determine the availability of another policeman, who is reportedly overseas getting medical treatment.

Miller is on trial for attempting to pervert the course of justice after Coke was captured in an SUV Miller was driving along the Mandela Highway in St Catherine during a nationwide manhunt in 2010.

Coke was wanted at the time on an extradition warrant from the United States, and one month before his capture, he had managed to elude a police-military incursion in his west Kingston stronghold of Tivoli Gardens that left more than 70 persons dead.