Prosecution trial prep untidy says judge in Manchester MC fraud case

Thursday, June 13, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — A contentious issue in the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial has been that there are exhibits brought in to be used as evidence by the prosecution, which defence attorneys claim were not disclosed to them.

The exhibits include invoices, vouchers and cheques.

Senior attorney Norman Godfrey, who is representing accused Sanja Elliott, former deputy superintendent of Road and Works, his wife Tasha-Gay Goulbourne-Elliott and his former employee Dwayne Sibblies, has been a strong advocate for presiding judge Ann-Marie Grainger to maintain the position to not accept new documents during the trial.

Yesterday, Grainger made a decision not to accept 29 documents that were being disputed because of the late stage they were brought to the attention of the defence attorneys.

She felt there are inadequacies in the prosecution's preparation for the trial of the case, which has been going on since 2016.

"It really is a bit untidy, a bit haphazard," said Grainger.

One of the difficulties the prosecution said was faced in the preparation is that some witnesses they had intended to have take the stand are overseas.

Grainger said that she understands the challenges with that situation but whatever pieces of evidence the prosecution intends to use should be disclosed to the defence attorneys.

However, prosecutors do not believe that the documents that were not allowed to be used will impact the case negatively.

The Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud case started following a joint raid by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Agency (MOCA), the Office of the Contractor General and the Financial Investigations Division.

Allegations are that the local government body misappropriated over 400 million.

The trial started last week in the Manchester Parish Court in Mandeville.

Starting today, the trial will take place at the court in Porus, outside of the parish capital.

Former deputy mayor and current councillor for the Spur Tree Division in North West Manchester, Ervin Facey, has been giving testimony since Tuesday afternoon and his questioning will continue in Porus.

He is the sixth witness to take the stand so far, from the 59 scheduled to give sworn testimony.

The prosecution is primarily requesting from Facey confirmation of signatures and stamps on cheques and invoices brought into evidence.

He was second in command to current mayor of Mandeville and chairman of the Manchester Municipal Corporation, Donovan Mitchell, before resigning from that position last year.

Facey was also deputising during the administration of immediate past mayor and chairman Brenda Ramsay.

Other accused on trial are former director of finance and secretary/manager (chief executive officer) David Harris, former temporary works overseer Kendale Roberts, former bank employee Radcliffe McLean and Elliott's parents Elwardo and Myrtle.


—Alicia Sutherland


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