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Spencer's lawyers demand cellphones

Published:Wednesday | January 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

DEFENCE ATTORNEYS are to make an application in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court this morning for access to cellular phones which contain recordings of conversations between Kern Spencer and his co-accused Rodney Chin.

Deborah Martin, counsel for Spencer, told The Gleaner yesterday that the defence were adamant they "must have the source material".

"We will be making an application in this regard in open court tomorrow," Martin said yesterday.

Prosecution and defence counsel met in the chambers of Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey yesterday to hammer out a deal. However, the parties could not reach an agreement.

The prosecution has told the court that Chin recorded 27 conversations - 25 between himself and Kern Spencer on his cellular phones. The Crown is seeking to enter the conversations as evidence but the defence counsels have objected.

Malfunctioned phone

K.D. Knight, defence counsel for Coleen Wright, who was Spencer's assistant while she worked at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, last Wednesday said that there were discrepancies in the serial number of one of three phones, when compared to the serial number disclosed in a statement from the police.

Patrick Atkison later told the court that one of the cellular phones which allegedly came in contact with the recordings had malfunctioned and the conversation on it could not be heard.

Spencer, the member of parliament for North East St Elizabeth, has been accused of corruption and money laundering arising out of the implementation of the Cuban light-bulb programme.

He was the state minister in the energy ministry and had responsibility for the programme, which racked up a cost of $276 million.

Chin, who was charged jointly with Spencer before the prosecution dropped the charges, said he recorded the conversations with Spencer because he wanted to present people with evidence of the truth.

The defence have dismissed the authenticity of the recordings. They say their expert must have access to the phones and have signalled that they are prepared to go as far as the Court of Appeal to get them for their own analysis.