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Consultant contradicts Lightbourne at Manatt enquiry

Published:Monday | March 21, 2011 | 12:05 PM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

The testimony of the consultant in the Ministry of Justice, Marcia Beverley, at the Manatt-Dudus commission of enquiry has contradicted claims by Minister of Justice and Attorney General Dorothy Lightbourne, that the procedure undertaken by the Deputy Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Jeremy Taylor, was unusual.

Beverley who was questioned by Simone Mayhew, one of the lawyers for the enquiry, repeatedly told the Commission that Taylor's handling of the extradition request followed the procedure to "the book".

The veteran civil servant told the enquiry that it was the custom for officers of the DPP to take extradition documents to the Ministry of Justice.

“It is customary for the DPP to come with the original document,” said Beverly.

Lightbourne claimed that Taylor was emphatic that the extradition request for Christopher “Dudus” Coke demanded urgent attention.

The Justice Minister said Taylor should have advised the United States Government to dispatch a provisional warrant, which would have immediately landed Christopher Dudus Coke in jail, instead of a formal extradition request.

In recounting what happened on the fateful day of August 25th, Beverley said she met with Lightbourne sometime before her 1 o’clock lunch session.

“She asked me to call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find out if there was an extradition request (for Christopher “Dudus” Coke)."

Beverley said she carried out the Lightbourne's instructions.

“The response from them (the Ministry of Justice) was no,” said Beverly, an indication that the Ministry had not yet received the request.

The Ministry of Justice consultant said she conveyed the information to Lightbourne via telephone.

Beverley said a police officer and Palmer came to the office at approximately 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

She said the officer handed her a package.

“Did you open the package?” Mayhew asked.

“Yes…that is norm,” Beverley said.

“What did it contain?” Mayhew asked.

“The extradition request for Mr. Coke,” Beverley responded.

The civil servant said she followed procedures and opened a file before placing the documents on it. “I made copies of the original,” she said.

Beverley said she then prepared a memorandum and handed it to the police officer. “That is the normal procedure,” Beverley asserted.

Asked whether she informed Lightbourne, Beverley said yes.

“I informed her that I did, by telephone,” said Beverley.

She said later that day the officer from the DPP and Taylor returned with a memorandum that he had brought.

“He asked me if could see the Minister, I told he shouldn’t wait because she had to prepare the documents to be taken to her," she said.

Beverley said they both left her office.

She said on August 26, 2009, Taylor returned with another memorandum cancelling the previous one he had given to her.

“I put the document on the file and did an addendum,” she said.

Beverley said she retained a copy of the original letter which in dealt with authority to proceed.

“I submitted the file to the Permanent Secretary and left it with him,” she said.

She said that was the last she had to do with the matter.

Cross examined by Frank Phipps, the attorney representing the Jamaica Labour Party, Beverley stressed that it was the police officer who handed the document to her in Taylor’s presence.

She said it was not unusual for police officers to take the request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Asked whether it was unusual for her to get a draft authority to proceed from the DPP before the Minister receives the original document, Beverley said “that is the procedure”.