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DPP slaps defence attorneys in Cash Plus Case

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator — Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 22, 2013    

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DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has accused the legal team of former Cash Plus boss Carlos Hill of deceit, in a hard-hitting speech which also saw her taking shots at 'uninformed commentators' in the media.

Llewellyn in a delivery sprinkled with philosophical and biblical quotes said she was "shocked" to hear the defence attorneys spreading "misinformation" through the media about her decision on Monday to enter the conditional nolle prosequi ending Hill's fraud trial.

"...I was shocked when I heard in the media that the impression was being created by my learned friends on the other side that the Office of the DPP entered this nolle in order to give us the opportunity to fix up our case and that we had bungled our case," Llewellyn said in an address to accounting students of the University of Technology Jamaica yesterday.

"I was shocked, because as far as I'm concerned, when you are of a noble profession you must embrace the nobility and the ethic and standard of that profession," the queen's counsel said.

Attorneys Valerie Neita-Robertson and Deborah Martin had on Monday expressed surprise and disappointment that the nolle prosequi had been entered. As the news spread, Llewellyn came under harsh criticism and calls by members of the public for her resignation.

But during yesterday's address at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, Llewellyn explained that Hill's attorneys were the ones who had asked for the nolle prosequi during an in-chamber meeting.

"My three prosecutors in that matter had told me... that defence counsel had asked them, 'Could you because we are not ready in this matter and we need more time to properly deal with the defence of Mr Hill could you please ask Ms Llewellyn to prepare to enter a nolle prosequi'," Llewellyn said.

Additionally, she said her decision was informed by the fact that the defence had requested a four-week adjournment which, she said, was implausible with a sitting panel of jurors.

Still, the defence had contended in court that it was put in a position of unreadiness by the prosecution's decision to amend the indictment against Hill.

Hill's trial started last week with the evidence of two witnesses. But while the third witness was on the stand, the prosecution successfully applied to Justice Paulette Williams to make the amendment.

Additional material was served by the prosecution on the defence, but on Monday Neita-Robertson said she had last week Friday requested further information which was critical to Hill's defence.

During the prosecution's response, Justice Williams asked Claudette Thompson, lead counsel for the Crown, to update the DPP on the situation and find out what she was minded to do. Thompson returned a half-hour later with the conditional nolle prosequi stopping the trial.

Hill, who is to undergo a new trial, was also rearrested to be charged on the amended indictment and subsequently offered $15 million bail. He is to return to court on May 17.

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