KINGSTON – Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, has stated that she sought independent counsel in the extradition of Christopher Coke, due to views in civil society and political circles.
The Minister, who was giving her testimony Wednesday March 16 at the Commission of Enquiry into the extradition of Mr. Coke, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, said that there were views that the authority she was exercising, and the things she was considering, were not within her remit.
“There was a view in civil society that I was overstepping my authority, and my duty and my responsibility, and that is why I sought the advice of independent counsel (and) a declaration from the court. I was not able to get that declaration and so I then signed that authority to proceed,” Senator Lightbourne said.
She also denied that she “signed away Mr. Coke”, as suggested by Attorney-at- Law representing former Minister of National Security, Peter Phillips, Patrick Atkinson Q.C, during his cross examination.
“I did not sign away Mr. Coke. The public wanted the matter before the court and so I signed the authority to proceed, so the matter could be put before the court,” Senator Lightbourne said.
The Justice Minister also noted that the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), even though unconstitutional, were important tools in fighting crime.
“Yes I support them. They are strong crime fighting tools…but they will have to be modified to conform to the Interception of Communications Act,” Senator Lightbourne said.
In response to questions posed by Attorney at law, Linton Gordon, she said she had no fear of the Shower Posse or One Order Gang.
“I don’t know them, (so) why should I be in fear (of them),” Senator Lightbourne said.
The Commission of Enquiry continued Thursday March 17, with the Justice Minister testifying for the ninth consecutive day.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter