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Cellphone ruling today

Published:Wednesday | February 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

RESIDENT MAGISTRATE Judith Pusey is to rule today on whether she will admit into evidence the main cellular phone in the Cuban light-bulb affair.

The phone, which prosecution witness Rodney Chin said he used to record conversations between himself and the accused, Kern Spencer, has been marked for identification, and is now at the centre of the legal tug of war.

Yesterday, expert witness Detective Sergeant Patrick Linton testified that he made an error in recording the unique identification number.

He also said he had given the wrong date in his statement in regard to when he took the phone from Chin.

Pusey had allowed lead prosecutor Paula Llewellyn to interpose Linton so he could explain why the numbers on the label of the evidence bag containing the phone were different from the numbers in the statement provided by the policeman.

Under cross-examination by K.D. Knight, Linton said he had erred when he said in his statement that he examined the phone on September 17, 2009.

The device report on the phone shows that the instrument was examined on September 17 but, asked by Knight to explain how he produced a report before he was in receipt of the phone, Linton said the calendar on the computer used might not have been working properly.

Discrepancies and impurities

In objecting to the phone being tendered into evidence, Knight, who represents co-defendant Coleen Wright, said there were too many discrepancies and impurities sur-rounding the object.

Patrick Atkinson, who represents Spencer, shared in the objection. He said the policeman's testimony "brings into serious question not just his credibility, but the authenticity of the phone".

However, Llewellyn said there were no reasons for the phone not to be admitted into evidence. She said the inconsistencies that appeared did not affect the critical issue, which was whether the phone in question was owned by Chin and was the one handed over to Linton.

Spencer, the member of parlia-ment for North East St Elizabeth, has been charged with money laundering and corruption arising out of his alleged role in the Cuban light-bulb affair.

Wright, his personal assistant when he was a junior government minister, and Chin were also charged.

The charges were dropped against Chin, who has so far provided the prosecution with statements and three cellular phones on which he said he recorded conversations between himself and Spencer.

The phone at the centre of the stand-off is the main one that was used to record and store the conversations.