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MMC FRAUD TRIAL | Prosecution, defence battle over amendments

Published:Friday | December 13, 2019 | 12:38 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Tempers rose in the Porus Court yesterday as prosecutors and the defence in the Manchester Municipal Corporation multimillon-dollar fraud trial sparred over a bid to adjust the indictment following applications made two weeks ago.

Defence attorneys described the prosecutors’ action as prejudicial and unfair to their clients and objected the move.

“The court has to look at the injustice that may result from these amendments,” charged attorney-at-law Norman Godfrey, who represents former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the then Manchester Parish Council, Sanja Elliott; his wife, TashaGaye Goulbourne-Elliott; and his caretaker, Dwayne Sibbles.

In making a response to the first application for amendments, Godfrey pointed out that the prosecution was initially confined to the period of investigation, 2013- 2016, and could not now include the year 2011 in one of the counts in question.

Godfrey also said that the application for a new count in relation to Sibbles, regarding the alleged fradulent encashment of a cheque, bore no weight as there was no indication that the transaction was done by Sibbles.

While the prosecution maintained that the law did not preclude them from making amendments at any time before the sentencing, presiding Judge Ann-Marie Grainger said she was perturbed by the applications.

After a review of the evidence, Grainger ruled that the substance of the Crown’s case remained and that the amendments would not cause injustice.

The amendments to counts 10, 11, 12, and 13 and the removal of count 19 were granted.

However, the applications to add a count in relation to Sibbles and the amendment to count 27 were denied.

The trial, which began in June of this year, will continue in the Porus Court on January 6, 2020.