Defence in light bulb trial to make no-case submissions

Friday, February 28, 2014    

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LAWYERS in the long-running Cuban light bulb trial involving former junior energy minister Kern Spencer and an assistant are expected to start making no-case submissions when the matter resumes in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Queen's Counsel KD Knight, who represents co-accused Coleen Wright, and Deborah Martin, representing Spencer are expected to ask Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey to release their clients on the ground that the prosecution hadn't made out its case against them.

The way was cleared for the attorneys to make the no-case submissions after the prosecution on Tuesday closed its case after five years of on-and-off evidence from 20 witnesses and the presentation of 85 exhibits.

Spencer, Wright and Rodney Chin were arrested in February 2008 and slapped with fraud- and corruption-related charges in connection with irregularities in the distribution of four million energy-saving light bulbs which were a gift from the Cuban Government. The charges against Chin were, however, dropped following a meeting in November 2008 with Chin, his lawyer, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn and others. Chin ended up being the prosecution's star witness.

The defence was made aware of that meeting only after Chin let it slip while giving evidence in court in 2010.

On Tuesday, Knight accused Senior Superintendent of Police Fitz Bailey, the lead investigator in the matter, of lying while grilling him about the contents of three statements that he had submitted in relation to a "secret meeting" he attended with Chin, Llewellyn and others on November 19, 2008.

"When you wrote the statements you made a hot mess and, Senior Superintendent, you are lying to the court," Knight said to Bailey at one point. The cop insisted that he wasn't lying.

Further to that, Bailey was asked if he had enquired of Chin whether or not he (Chin) had benefited from the light bulb project or if he had received any benefits for his evidence.

"I don't know about those questions," Bailey declared before acknowledging later that he had, in fact, asked those questions.





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