Prosecution, defence fuss over documents in Manchester trialSunday, September 29, 2019
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Prosecution and defence counsels in the Manchester Municipal Corporation multimillion-dollar fraud trial, are again at odds over issues of disclosure and the reliability of documents to be introduced in evidence.
The trial has been plagued with complaints from the defence about issues of disclosure.
Inspite of the objections and concerns expressed by the defence, presiding judge Ann Marie Grainger allowed the contended documents into evidence after hearing arguments from the prosecution and defence during Friday's sitting at Manchester Parish Court in Mandeville.
The challenged documents consisted mainly of records of financial transactions associated with one of the eight accused before the court, Sanja Elliott, who was the deputy superintendent in charge of Road & Works at the municipal corporation.
The defence is contending that they were not served with the original documents on which the prosecution intended to examine two witnesses from Jamaica National (JN) Bank, who gave evidence on Friday. The Crown's explanation that the documents could not be found from the source they originated and copies were made available instead, had the defence questioning the validity of the copy documents.
Judge Grainger expressed dismay at the reported lapse on the part of the prosecution noting: “I am taken aback, so you can understand how the defence feels,” she said.
In response to the Crown's explanation that the original documents could not be found from the source they came, the judge expressed the view that there had been sufficient time for the prosecution to address the situation before the witnesses were called.
Judge Grainger then directed the prosecution not to ask any questions of the first witness, GayAnn Facey, records manager (JN) Bank, regarding any of the accused that related to documents.
Following the deposition of the witnesses and arguments from the defence and prosecution, judge Grainger said she would admit the documents into evidence as she felt that the second of the two JN witnesses, Shaun Rapley, the bank's junior compliance specialist, in light of the missing documents, did what he could to reconcile the documents from the copies that existed.
Other defendants facing the court along with Elliott, following high level criminal investigations into an alleged conspiracy to defraud the municipality of some $400 million dollars, are former Corporation employees, David Harris, finance manager and Kindale Roberts, works overseer; Elliott's wife Tasha Gaye, his parents, Edwardo and Myrtle Elliott, his employee Dwayne Sibblies and a senior commercial bank employee, Radcliffe McLean.
The trial will continue at the Porus Court House on Monday.
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