Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Judge wary of lengthy Kern trial

Published:Tuesday | February 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

As the trial of Kern Spencer limped into another week, presiding magistrate Judith Pusey yesterday declared she had no desire to have the matter labour before her.

"I don't want to grow old trying this case," Pusey said as the trial inched along yesterday.

Spencer, the member of parliament for North East St Elizabeth, has been before the courts since February 2008.

He has been charged with corruption and money laundering, arising out of his alleged role in the Cuban light-bulb affair.

Spencer's companion, Coleen Wright, who was his personal assistant when he served as a minister of government, is also charged.

The trial of the matter commenced last September and only three of the more than 30 witnesses the Crown says it intends to call have taken the stand.

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, who is leading evidence for the Crown, got close to calling her fourth witness yesterday but was forced to retreat after defence counsel objected to expert witness Patrick Linton being interposed.

Llewellyn was seeking to temporarily halt the testimony of Rodney Chin in order to get evidence from Linton before returning to Chin.

The Crown is attempting to lay the ground for admitting a particular cellular phone into evidence and Llewellyn said interposing Linton would cure the mischief of identity of the exhibit.

Chin said he used the phone to record conversations between him and Spencer. However, defence counsel K.D. Knight said there were unresolved issues relating to the chain of custody of the phone, which he said would affect the admissibility of the device.

Sought disclosure

Meanwhile, defence counsel sought to get disclosure on the matter of an ongoing investigation involving Chin.

The lawyers said the investigation, undertaken by Contractor General Greg Christie in relation to sham contractors at the National Housing Trust (NHT), was of great importance to the preparation of their case.

Patrick Atkinson, another attorney for the defence, said the information was germane to the credibility of Chin, who Christie said appeared as an employee in one of the sham companies that did work for the NHT.

Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey, before whom the application was made, said she would consider the request, but suggested she was unlikely to rule in favour of the defence.

"I would have to satisfy myself that the public's interest is not being interfered with," said Pusey, who also told the defence that it appeared they were fishing.