Chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into the handling of the Christopher Coke extradition request, Queen’s Counsel, Hon. Emile George, O.J., has instructed that representatives of the Attorney General’s (AG) Department be summoned to attend the hearing to clarify matters pertaining to several Memoranda of Understanding arising in the matter.
The directive was issued during Monday’s (January 24) resumption of the hearing at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, consequent on the absence of representatives from that Department and the unavailability of copies of the documents, which the Commission was slated to examine.
Mr. George noted, during the proceedings, that a statement submitted by Solicitor General, Douglas Leys, made reference to the memoranda in the extradition proceedings. He, however, lamented that the Commission had not been furnished with copies, was not aware of the documents’ whereabouts, or the Attorney General’s Department’s position on the matter. He argued that Mr. Leys’ reference to the documents in his statement, suggested his familiarity with them and that the Attorney General’s (AG) Department would “presumably”, have copies.
Legal Counsel to the Commission, Garth McBean, advised that his colleague, Symone Mayhew, communicated with Counsel representing the AG Department in relation to locating the MoUs, and for attendance at the Enquiry to state their position on the matter, particularly whether the contents can be publicly divulged. He said, however, that up to Monday, no response was forthcoming.
Counsel for Mr. Leys, Oliver Smith, said that his client was never instructed to produce the MoUs, but gave the undertaking to consult with him on same, as well as follow up with the AG Department.
Stressing the need for the Commissioners to see the documents, “if nobody else does”, Mr. George deferred the matter.
“We do not know whether the Attorney General’s Department has found them; if they have found them, they must, at least, tell us so. And if there is a point of public interest or privilege…they wish to claim, they should tell us and argue it accordingly,” the Chairman said, while instructing that representatives be summoned to attend the hearing.
Earlier, Attorney-at-law, Harold Brady, declined to give a statement at the hearing, which he was summoned to attend, having submitted an affidavit to the Commission.
The hearing was adjourned until Thursday (Jan. 27), when the representatives of the AG Department are expected to be present. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Evadne Coye, is also slated to resume testifying before the Commission.
CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH