Crown unable to locate witness in Manchester fraud trial

Crown unable to locate witness in Manchester fraud trial

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The judge presiding over the $400-million Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial yesterday advised the prosecution that an application to admit the statement of a former senior executive of the State body, who cannot be located by the police to testify, may be premature.

The defence is objecting to the statement being admitted, maintaining that the Crown had not made sufficient effort to locate the witness.

Detective Inspector Martin Morgan of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency gave evidence outlining efforts he made to locate the witness as the trial of eight people charged in connection with the case continued in the Manchester Parish Court.

Morgan told the court that he had visited a home in Barbary Hall, St Elizabeth as recently as Sunday morning in an effort to find the witness. But, the defence expressed serious concern about the detective going to the residence “in the middle of the trial" and hinted at a possible complicity with the Crown.

Crown counsel Channa Ormsby took strong objection to the suggestion, stating “Prosecutorial misconduct is a serious charge” and described the assertion as a “scandalous attempt to impugn my integrity”.

Parish Judge Ann Marie Grainger said she had no cause to be concerned about the integrity of any member of the prosecution.

She then enquired of the police inspector if he had been in contact with anyone since his visit to St Elizabeth, to which the inspector said no.

The judge then advised that the matter of admitting the statement of the witness, who cannot be located, into evidence, will be tested in cross-examination of Inspector Morgan.

Those before the court are Sanja Elliott, former deputy superintendent of road and works at the corporation; other former staffers Kendale Roberts, works overseer; and David Harris, finance director; Elliott's wife, Tasha Gay; his parents Edwardo and Myrtle Elliott; Sanja Elliott's employee Dwayne Sibblies ;and bank employee Radcliffe McLean.

Jonathan Morrison

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