Near tragedy at Manchester Parish Court

BY JONATHAN MORRISON
Observer writer

Saturday, September 21, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — There was near tragedy during yesterday's sitting of the Manchester Parish Court, which is hearing evidence in the municipal corporation's $400-million fraud case in which eight persons are before the court.

About an hour into yesterday's proceedings, which began about 10:00 am, a six-foot high sliding-pane glass window dislodged itself from its moorings and went crashing to the floor, narrowly missing a witness who was giving evidence from the stand.

The witness for the prosecution appeared to have escaped unhurt although hit by flying glass splinters. The presiding judge, Ann-Marie Grainger immediately adjourned the sitting for a 15-minute recess to allow the witness time to compose herself before continuing her testimony.

Ironically, when the witness first took the stand one of the five attorneys representing the eight defendants had suggested to the judge that the witness occupy an adjacent stand, arguing that the stand near to the ill-fated window had the witness too close to crown counsel Channa Ormsby, who was examining the witness.

Judge Grainger, however, instructed that Ormsby move a few paces away from the stand to allow more room between herself and the witness. After the accident the witness was relocated to the stand that Mr Godfrey had recommended.

Venue for the trial since it began three months ago has alternated between the over 200-year-old Georgian-style parish courthouse and the court in Porus. Street noises at both courthouses, moreso in Mandeville, have regularly interrupted proceedings, with the court obliged to halt its activity until the noise had abated. The main sources are motorcycles with noisy exhaust systems that drown out the court proceedings at times.


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