Judge allows cellphone, SIM card into evidenceFriday, September 27, 2019
By Jonathan Morrison
PORUS, Manchester — Parish Judge Anne Marie Grainger has allowed into evidence a Samsung mobile phone and a SIM card that defence attorneys in the Manchester Municipal Corporation's multimillion-dollar fraud trial had sought to block at Wednesday's sitting of the court in Mandeville.
The trial, which continued in the Porus Courthouse yesterday, heard evidence from an expert witness, who had been directed by the prosecution at the last hearing in Mandeville to provide additional evidence to support his previous testimony that the SIM card belonged to the mobile phone.
Attorneys representing the eight accused before the court, had argued that the SIM card could not be properly identified by its unique serial number, as some of the digits had been removed by the cutting of the card and should therefore not be allowed into evidence.
Witness Anthony Anderson, a former police constable who was a forensic computer examiner with the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, was examined by the prosecution to elicit the evidence required to validate the SIM card. At the conclusion of the examination, Judge Grainger remarked that the witness's testimony did not “better clarify why this particular SIM belongs to this phone”.
The judge, however, noted that she would grant the Crown's application to admit the two items into evidence, as she was “persuaded by the submissions” of the prosecution.
The expert witness had given previous evidence that the mobile phone containing the SIM was seized at the residence of former finance manager of the Manchester Municipal Corporation David Harris, one of the defendants before the court. He said that he extracted, from the SIM card, a conversation between Harris and co-accused Sanja Elliott, former deputy superintendent of road and works at the corporation.
Elliott, Harris, and Kindale Roberts, former senior staff members of the municipal corporation; Elliott's wife Tasha Gaye, his parents Edwardo and Myrtle Elliott, his employee Dwayne Sibblies, and bank employee Radcliffe McLean are before the court on charges of forgery, conspiracy to defraud, obtaining money by false pretences, and facilitation of the retention of criminal property in connection with allegations of a $400-million fraud at the municipality in 2016.
Defence counsels' cross-examination of the expert witness was rescheduled for October 2, to allow time for the prosecution to provide the five-member defence team with copies of digitally recorded evidence stored in USB and CD format.
The trial resumes today at the Manchester Parish Court in Mandeville.
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