Crown, prosecution again haggle over document disclosure

Crown, prosecution again haggle over document disclosure

Observer writer

Monday, September 23, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Despite consensus at last Thursday's hearing in Porus on the management of the large volume of documents related to the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial, Friday's sitting of the parish court in Mandeville was again marked by lengthy wrangling over document disclosure.

There was much back and forth between the team of attorneys, representing the eight defendants, and the two Crown counsel marshalling the evidence on behalf of the prosecution.

Parish Court Judge Ann Marie Grainger, in seeking to resolve the issue, referred to a ruling she made at a previous sitting that at no time should the prosecution bring into evidence any document or other exhibit that had not been shared beforehand with the defence.

At the Porus courthouse last Thursday, defence attorney Danielle Archer had suggested that in the interest of time and efficiency documents of like nature could be bundled and presented at once for identification and verification by witnesses, as opposed to handing each, one at a time, to the witness.

At the time Judge Grainger had thanked the defence for their co-operation in offering a suggestion that would speed up the prosecution's examination of witnesses.

However, in Mandeville on Friday the Crown's examination of two prosecution witnesses was repeatedly halted by objections from the defence. The objections were based on the issue of documents and, in one instance, a compact disc that the defence team either had not received or felt had not come to hand in a timely manner, but which the Crown was relying on as evidence.

In the end it was not clear whether the prosecution's examination of the witnesses had been discontinued on account of the objections or if the Crown counsel had completed their examination.

The eight accused individuals are on trial for the alleged misappropriation of more than $400 million of public funds from the corporation. They are all facing charges including forgery, conspiracy to defraud and obtaining money under false pretence.

The trial resumes today at the Mandeville courthouse.

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