Manchester judge to rule today on witness statement


Manchester judge to rule today on witness statement

By Jonathan Morrison
Observer writer

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester – It is expected to be known today if the statement of a Crown witness, who cannot be located, will be admitted into evidence when the Manchester Municipal Corporation multi-million dollar fraud trial resumes after the Heritage Week break.

Parish Judge Ann Marie Grainger, who is hearing evidence in the matter, for which eight persons are before the court, indicated at last Tuesday's sitting that she would give her ruling when the court reconvenes today.

The defence, which is objecting to the admitting of the statement in evidence, will today wrap up its cross-examination of Detective Inspector Martin Morgan of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, who has been in the witness stand since October 9.

The defence team has argued that the statement should not be allowed as Det Inspector Morgan did not take all “reasonable steps” to have the witness – a former administrative officer of the municipality – available to give evidence.

Indications are that the statement on which the judge is to take a decision, includes information related to salary ranges at the corporation.

Inspector Morgan told the court that his investigations revealed that the witness “is outside of the Jamaican jurisdiction”. He said a travel history report from PICA (Passport, Immigration & Citizenship Agency) showed the “last date she left Jamaica from the Sangster International Airport”.

The accused persons answering corruption charges in connection with an alleged conspiracy to defraud the municipal corporation of more than $400 million are: Sanja Elliott, former deputy superintendent of road and works; two other former staff members, Kendale Roberts, works overseer and David Harris, finance director; Elliott's wife, Tasha Gay; his parents Edwardo and Myrtle Elliott; Sanja Elliott's employee, Dwayne Sibblies; and bank employee Radcliffe McLean.

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