Mon | Oct 21, 2019

Manchester Fraud Trial | More time needed to complete trial

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 12:25 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester:

Approximately 20 of the 45 witnesses have so far taken the stand in the multimillion-dollar fraud trial involving the Manchester Municipal Corporation, but it now appears that much more time will be needed than originally scheduled to reach completion.

With several witnesses having to be recalled, some as a result of the indescrepancies around document submission by the prosecution to the defence, the trial, which started on June 5 and which was originally scheduled for two weeks, is now gradually making its way to December.

Presiding Judge Ann-Marie Grainger stated in the Manchester Parish Court yesterday that in addition to the days scheduled for the remainder of the month, October ,and November, two additional weeks would be needed.

However, the prosecution revealed that based on the progression of the matter, three additional weeks would be needed.

At the start of the trial, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn made appearances, and on occasion, apologised on behalf of her team for the inconsistencies with which the court had to contend.

Llewellyn had indicated that the prosecution only received the case a year ago and some delays were out of their immediate control.

Meanwhile, another representative from Tax Administration Jamaica was called to the stand.

She said that her unit, which deals with property conveyancing, among other responsibilities, received a request from the Major Organised Crime and Corruption Agency seeking information on the accused, former deputy superintendent of roads and works at the corporation, Sanja Elliott, in the capacity of applicant, vendor, and purchaser.

She said that when the system was checked, no matching documents were found. However, the system returned five records that corresponded with the name and TRN given for the search.

The witness said that one bill of sale processed in 2008 was found, two hypothecation processes in 2013, and two agreements for sale processed in 2015.

irrelevant documents

As the prosecution sought to present other documents, there were objections from the defence citing that documents were irrelevant and that the process of redacting each time was exhausting.

However, Grainger said that if the documents showed no prejudice to any of the accused, then the documents did not have to be redacted.

She later sought to clarify the position of the defence and cautioned the prosecution to be efficient.

A representative from the Architects Registration Board, who was able to speak to the procedures of registration, was also called to the stand.

The matter continues today at the courthouse in Porus.