When the Manchester Municipal Corporation’s $400-million fraud trial resumes at the Porus courthouse today, lawyers representing the eight accused individuals, will respond to changes in the indictment proposed late last year by the Crown.
Applications were made to have some half-a-dozen changes made to some of the charges against main accused, the Corporation’s former deputy superintendent of road and works, Sanja Elliott and his employee Dwayne Sibblies.
Presiding judge Ann Marie Grainger at the last sitting of the court in December had allowed four of the six amendments sought by the prosecution.
Defence attorney Norman Godfrey who represents Elliott and Sibblies, was successful in blocking two of the six changes sought by the Crown relating to Sibblies. However, amendments to four counts related to Elliott, were allowed by the judge.
The Crown had asked that count 19 of the indictment be removed and another count added which stated that Sibblies “caused money to be paid by false pretences contrary to Section 35 of the Larceny Act.”
This amendment affecting Sibblies was not allowed by the judge and neither did she permit a second request made by the Crown that the word “fraudulent” be removed from count 27 of the indictment, also related to Sibblies.
In relation to Elliott, the Crown had requested that amendments to counts 10, 12, and 13 be made to the indictment. These changers required alterations in timelines, wording, and downward adjustments to certain sums of money.
In refusing the application for the additional count affecting Sibblies, judge Grainger noted that in her view 32 counts (contained in the indictment) were already too many, “I do not see the need to add another count”, she stated.
Judge Grainger, although permitting the amendments in relation to Elliott, said that “one would have expected that the Crown would get it right”. She, however, noted that the amendment “can be made without injustice being caused.”
The other defendants before the court answering charges in relation to an alleged conspiracy to defraud the Manchester Municipal Corporation of hundreds of millions of dollars, are former Corporation employees, David Harris and Kendale Roberts, Elliott’s wife Tashagay, his parents Edwardo and Myrtle and former bank teller, Radcliffe McLean.