Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tivoli COE: Insufficiency of "other "evidence--Lightbourne

The issue of the sufficiency, or otherwise, of the supporting evidence  accompanying the formal extradition request for Christopher "Dudus" Coke resurfaced during the cross-examination of Miss Dorothy Lightbourne at the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry. The focus was on the "other evidence"--ie that excluding the contested wire tape evidence.

Dorothy Lightbourne, the former Attorney- General and Minister of Justice, has been consistent in maintaining that the evidence other than that pertaining to the wire taps was insufficient to establish a prima facie case. Nevertheless she signed the authority to proceed without a sufficient evidentiary basis.

In the Manatt Enquiry, the following exchanges took place on Friday, March 11, 2011 between Mr. K.D. Knight and Miss Lightbourne:

Q:   ..... Miss Lightbourne you had some reservations about the wire tap evidence that had been supplied by the US government, is that correct?
A:  That is correct.
Q:   If you exclude the wire tap evidence would there have been sufficient evidence to justify your issuing an authority to proceed?
A:   No, sir.
Q:   If you excluded the wire tap evidence would there have been sufficient evidence on which a  committal could have been made by the Magistrate?
A:   In my view, no.
Q:   So, do I understand the situation to have been that you signed an authority to proceed without any   evidentiary basis at all?
A:   I said there was some evidence, I did not consider it sufficient.
Q:   So do you agree that you signed the authority to proceed without a sufficient evidentiary basis?
A:   That is my view.

Lightbourne elaborated her interpretation of the duty that had to be carried out under Section 8, Extradition Act: 
  • "Mr Chairman, my duty would be to see that there is sufficient evidence that could be put, that a committed Magistrate would commit the accused to stand trial for the offense."
  • "A:   My consideration are to look at the legal issues, to look at the evidence, and to look at the whole circumstances of what is before me to say that this is sufficient that this person should be committed to stand trial."
  •  Q:   And if the evidence is insufficient what is your ministerial duty?
  •  A:   To refuse the request."
The cross-examination on this subject matter continued for some time. Knight grilled; Lightbourne remained steadfast--repeating the gist of her position. The matter was well ventilated during the Manatt COE.
The Tivoli COE wasted some very expensive time.

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