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DPP seeks witness in Kern Spencer case

BY PAUL HENRY Coordinator- Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 09, 2014    

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ELDON Nembhard, the son of St Elizabeth custos Wilfred Nembhard, is being sought by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to give evidence in the corruption trial of former junior energy minister Kern Spencer and his former executive assistant

Nembhard's absence yesterday resulted in the early adjournment of the trial in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court. The adjournment followed the evidence of Senior Superintendent of Police Fitz Bailey, the former head of the Organised Crime Investigation Division.

As a result, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, who is leading the prosecution's case, told the court that "extreme measures" will have to be taken to have Nembhard brought to court.

According to Llewellyn, her office had been trying to locate the witness from before the trial adjourned for the Christmas holiday, but that he is being evasive. Nembhard had given a statement to the police in February of 2008.

Llewellyn asked for the matter to be adjourned to February 3 to locate Nembhard. She said that if the police fail to locate him the prosecution will proceed with an application to have his statement read into evidence.

Spencer and his co-accused Coleen Wright are being tried on fraud and money-laundering charges in relation to the distribution of energy-saving light bulbs, a gift from the Cuban Government. They were arrested on February 26, 2008.

Yesterday, during his evidence, Bailey testified to the date that Spencer, Wright and Rodney Chin were arrested. (The charges against Chin were subsequently dropped and he became the prosecution's star witness.)

According to Bailey, all three participated in separate question- and-answer sessions and that they were not threatened or induced in any way for their participation.

Defence attorneys KD Knight, QC, (Wright's lawyer) and Deborah Martin (for Spencer) opted not to continue cross-examination of Bailey because the prosecution said it would be recalling the senior superintendent at a later date regarding the evidence of former head of the Cymbercrime Unit, Detective Sergeant Patrick Linton.

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