Manchester MC corruption trial: Judge overules defense

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Manchester Parish Court judge Ann Marie Grainger yesterday overruled defence counsel’s objections and allowed into evidence two exhibits from two expert witnesses, as the trial continues for eight defendants charged in connection with an alleged multimillion-dollar fraud at the parish’s Municipal Corporation.

The first witness  Stacey-Ann Ulette of the Court Process Office, assigned to telecommunications company Digicel  who began testimony at the Mandeville courthouse on Monday this week, returned yesterday to the stand to verify the authorship of a computer-produced document.

Defence attorney Norman Godfrey, who appears for main accused Sanja Elliott, former deputy superintendent in charge of road and works at the Manchester Municipal Corporation, had challenged the document on the grounds that it had no information regarding its authorship, neither did it have a date nor a heading.

The witness testified that the document was produced from two compact discs (CDs) on which was recorded the phone subscriber information of several individuals, including Elliott.

The witness said that the document, described as an Excel sheet, had information that included call and text data and the identification of subscribers’ telephone numbers.

During Monday’s testimony Ulette was provided with the statement she had given the police in order to refresh her memory as to the names of the people whose subscriber information was before the court. The witness eventually gave several names to the court, but when the prosecution enquired if there were more names, she said she could not recall.

When Ulette returned to the stand yesterday, she told the court that she was responsible for the creation of the document and described in detail how she had gone about producing it. The names on the document were not revealed in court.

The second witness was David Kerr, a former member of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency, where he served as a digital forensic examiner. He gave evidence yesterday that he was part of a team of law enforcers who searched, under warrant, the premises of Sanja Elliott at Daley’s Grove in Manchester, where several digital devices, including mobile phones, tablets and a desktop computer were seized.

Kerr told the court that he was responsible for all digital devices found at the premises and made a record of each device which he said was confiscated for future analysis. He further testified that the document on which the details of the seized devices were recorded was voluntarily signed by Sanja Elliott.

Godfrey objected to the document identified by the witness as the Digital Media Attribution Form being admitted into evidence, as his client, Elliott, had not been cautioned by Kerr when he volunteered to sign the document.

Judge Grainger, in response, said she would consider the attorney’s objections and return to give a ruling after the lunch break.

When the sitting resumed the judge ruled that the document was admissible. The ruling was accepted by Godfrey.

Staff Reporter

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