The Crown outlines its 'overwhelming' and 'cogent' evidence

The Crown outlines its 'overwhelming' and 'cogent' evidence

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

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The $400-million Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial ended on Friday, May 15, 2020 with the conviction of main accused 35-year-old Sanja Elliott, the corporation's former deputy superintendent of road and works; his wife, Tasha-gaye Goulbourne-Elliott; two former employees of the corporation, David Harris, secretary/manager and acting chief executive officer and Kendale Roberts, temporary works overseer; as well as Dwayne Sibblies, a former employee of Sanja Elliott.

Those freed at the end of the trial were Sanja Elliott's mother, Myrtle Elliott, and former commercial bank teller Radcliff McLean.

In January, Sanja Elliott's father and husband of Myrtle Elliott, Elwardo, was the first to be freed.

The charges included conspiracy to defraud, engaging in a transaction that involves criminal property, several counts of possession of criminal property, facilitating the retention of criminal property, obtaining money by means of false pretences, causing money to be paid out by forged documents, an act of corruption, and uttering forged documents.

The Jamaica Observer continues its publication of the Crown's closing submission prepared by prosecutors Channa Ormsby, Patrice Hickson, and Jamelia Simpson, as well as Kamesha Campbell, attorney on fiat from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, and presented to the court in the case against the seven.


[61] In discharging the burden to prove each count on the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt the Crown has presented an overwhelming amount of cogent and coherent circumstantial and direct evidence in the form of:

• Oral testimony the Crown called 46 witnesses to prove its case;

• Documentary evidence the Crown tendered into evidence 249 exhibits and 1 on the voir dire in the form of:

• Financial records

• Certificates of Titles (land and motor vehicle)

• Tax transaction Records

• Forensic financial report

• Receipts for various purchases and payments made by Sanja Elliott

• Payment vouchers, invoices and cheques

Expert Evidence

• Quantity surveyor report

• Land valuator report

• Forensic Examiner Report (Financial)

• Question document examiner/handwriting report.

Digital Evidence

• Cellular Phones

• Digital forensic reports

[62] In addressing the counts on the indictment, we intend to deal with count 1 followed by counts 23, 25, 26, 27, 28-30, 32, 2, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14-16, 3-6, 10-12, 15, 18, 20, 21.


Sanja Elliott, David Harris, Kendale Roberts, Dwayne Sibblies and Radcliff McLean between the first day of January 2014 and the 31st day of December 2016, in the parish of Manchester, with intent to defraud, conspired together and with other persons unknown to defraud the Manchester Parish Council in excess of $10 million or part thereof, by submitting and or facilitating the processing of fraudulent invoices, payment vouchers or cheques drawn in the names of persons purporting to be legitimate contractors who have performed bona fide work for the Manchester Parish Council.


[62] Conspiracy to defraud is an offence at common law. It has been defined in the leading case of Scott v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1975] AC 819 as “an agreement by two or more persons by dishonesty to deprive a person of something which is his or which he is or would be or might be entitled or an agreement by two or more by dishonesty to injure some proprietary right of his suffice to constitute the offence”.

[63] There may or may not be an intent to deceive in such cases and there may or may not be an intent to cause financial or economic loss to the proposed victim or victims but it suffices if there is a dishonest agreement to expose the proposed victim to some form of economic risk or disadvantage which he would not otherwise be exposed. According to Panton P in Conrad Walters v R , relying on Willes J in Mulccahy V R, a conspiracy consists of an agreement between two or more persons to do an unlawful act or to do a lawful act by unlawful means.

[64] The learned authors of Archbold make clear, the agreement may be proved in the usual way or by proving circumstances from which the jury may presume it. Proof of the existence of a conspiracy is generally a 'matter of inference, deduced from certain criminal acts of the parties accused', done in pursuance of an apparent criminal purpose in common between then. Overt acts which are proved against some defendants may be looked at as against all of them, to show the nature and objects of the conspiracy. The learned authors signify that a conspirator can join the conspiracy at any time and may exit the conspiracy at any time. There is no requirement that the substantive act agreed as part of the conspiracy was actually carried out, just that there is an agreement.

[65] What the prosecution must prove.

a. An agreement between the alleged conspirators to carry out an unlawful purpose, as signified by words or other means of communication between them;

b. An intention in the mind of any alleged conspirator to carry out the unlawful purpose.


[67] It is the submission of the Crown that Mr Sanja Elliott was one of the masterminds in this scheme, with autonomy which allowed him to defraud the council. The factors that tend to support Mr Elliott devising this scheme and ultimately being the beneficiary of same was borne out in the evidence of several witnesses called by the Crown, and which are discussed below.

[68] What was Mr Elliott's role in the scheme?

• Solicitation/recruitment of “purported contractors”/supervisors;

• Providing the names and TRN of “purported contractors” to Kendale Roberts and David Harris to facilitate the creation of fraudulent invoices, payment vouchers and cheques in their names;

• Authorising the creation and processing of fictitious documents to facilitate payment for work not bona fide performed by these “purported contractors”;

• Contacting and providing cheques to “purported contractors” with instructions for these individuals to encash same and turn over the proceeds to him;

• Collecting the proceeds from cheques drawn to “purported contractors” under pretence that they had performed legitimate work for the Manchester Parish council;

• Arbitrarily directing the amount of monies to be made payable to “purported contractors”.

TOMORROW: The evidence before the court

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