Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Third time no charm for Kerr

Published:Thursday | July 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

A prosecutor yesterday revealed that well-known real estate developer Christopher Kerr used that name to apply for a passport and a taxpayer registration number (TRN) from as far back as 2000, 11 years before he sought to have it changed through a deed poll.

It was one of several disclosures made by prosecutor Nigel Parke that influenced a magistrate's decision to deny the businessman bail for a third time in less than a week, when the case was mentioned in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.

The businessman, who was born Donovan Watson Kerr, has been charged with four counts of forgery and two counts of uttering forged documents, after police investigators reported seizing four birth certificates, three passports, two TRNs and two driver's licences from his home in the name of Christopher Watson-Kerr and his birth name.

His attorney, Hugh Wildman, initially argued that Kerr did a deed poll in January 2011, to have his name changed to Christopher Watson-Kerr and was doing business in that name in anticipation that the process would soon be completed.

But in outlining the allegations against the businessman yesterday, Parke told the court that police investigations showed that in October 2000, the businessman applied for a Jamaican passport using his assumed name.

He said during checks with the Registrar General's Department (RGD) to obtain the original copy of the birth certificate used to support the passport application, it was discovered that the birth certificate was assigned to someone other than Kerr.


According to the prosecutor, there were differences with the date of birth and the mother's maiden name.

Parke said in 2003 and 2005, the businessman applied for a taxpayer registration number (TRN) and a Jamaican driver's licence in the name of Christopher Watson-Kerr and charged that again, the dates of birth on both applications were incorrect.

Still, the prosecutor told the court that months after the 2011 deed poll, Kerr sought to renew a Jamaican driver's licence that had been issued in his birth name, Donovan Kerr.

Parke said during a question-and-answer session with police investigators yesterday, Kerr admitted that he has two TRNs and that he has a United States visa in the name of 'Donovan Waton-Kerr'.

"The Crown is without possession of any passport for the accused, whether Jamaican or otherwise," Parke said, noting that Kerr is a Canadian citizen.

But seeking to persuade Resident Magistrate Kaysha Grant to offer his client bail, Wildman sought to explain that the businessman did two deed polls, the first coming "between 1998 and 1999", to have his name changed to Christopher Watson-Kerr.

However, the attorney said when Kerr's business partner died in a motor vehicle accident some time later, the businessman was unable to locate the documents that gave effect to the name change, prompting a question from the magistrate.

"Are you saying there is no information pursuant to that deed poll... nothing to suggest that he did a deed poll?" Grant questioned.

Yes," Wildman replied, adding that a decision was then taken to make a second application in 2011.

He also told the court that one of the birth certificates found at his client's home was mailed to him with the incorrect date of birth by the RGD and that the incorrect name on the US visa issued to him was the fault of the US Embassy.

"These charges are just sensationalism... much a do about nothing," Wildman insisted.

When the attorney sought to emphasise that Kerr had no previous convictions, the magistrate interrupted.

"Which one of them has no criminal convictions?"Grant asked, in reference to the two names prosecutors alleged the businessman was using.

"Donovan Watson-Kerr has none and this man sitting before you, Christopher Watson-Kerr, has no criminal convictions," Wildman responded.

Grant, however, denied bail, noting she was concerned that Kerr's travel documents have not been turned over to the police and citing allegations that he has been using two names.

He is scheduled to go on trial on August 12.