Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Handwriting expert reviews 800 transactions

Published:Wednesday | October 23, 2019 | 12:15 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester:

vouchers, invoices and cheques were among the documents listed as being examined by the handwriting expert who took the stand yesterday as the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial continued.

The witness said that a letter was given to her by a representative of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) in January 2017 and then she was presented with a set of documents the following month.

She told the court that seven persons were named in the letter, including former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the then Manchester Parish Council, Sanja Elliott; former temporary works overseer, Kendale Roberts; and Dwayne Sibbles. The three are among eight persons charged in the multimillion-dollar fraud case.

The witness said that in December 2017, she received 800 documents from transactions. These included vouchers, handwritten invoices, typed invoices, cheques, and handwritten instructions.

She revealed that a list of 32 names was provided with the documents. She mentioned 11 names, including former bank employee Radcliffe McLean and former secretary/manager and director of finance at the corporation, David Harris, who are both facing charges.

The expert said her task was to compare verifiable documents with questionable ones by examining the signatures, among other things.

The defence accused the Crown of relying on documents not yet admitted after the prosecution requested that evidence be shown to the witness. However, the prosecution maintained that the particular documents had already been disclosed.

During the ensuing debate, the prosecution accused the defence of continuously trying to block documents solely on the basis of non-disclosure.

The defence maintained that some of the documents they received from the prosecution do not match the files from which the copies were said to have been made from. They also lamented the huge volume and size of documents in the case.

The matter continues today in the Manchester Parish Court.