Solicitor General, Douglas Leys said on February 9 that he believed the Attorney General and Justice Minister, Senator Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne, was justified in her concerns over the legality of aspects of the evidence involved in the extradition request of Christopher “Dudus" Coke.
Mr. Leys was testifying for the second day at the Commission of Enquiry into the handling of the extradition request for Mr. Coke, which is being held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown, Kingston.
One of the concerns raised by the Attorney General and Minster of Justice was that there were witnesses, who had not revealed their identities.
Attorney-at-law, K.D. Knight, who is representing the People’s National Party, questioned Mr. Leys as to whether this was a justifiable concern on the basis that this was a common occurrence in extradition cases.
However the Solicitor General said he believed the Justice Minister’s concerns were legitimate as she “had a statutory discretion to exercise."
“I think that she had a right to satisfy herself by asking relevant questions as to the issues surrounding the co-operating witnesses,” Mr. Leys remarked.
Mr. Knight further asked the Solicitor General whether he still believed his concerns were justifiable based on the fact that similar matters had been dealt with by the Court of Appeal in Jamaica and have been found to be permissible.
“Indeed, sir,” Mr. Leys responded. “Because I think it’s a non sequitur (an argument in which the conclusion does not follow from its premises). The Court of Appeal looks at every circumstance of every case, and it gives a ruling, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the circumstances, which you may get the names in a subsequent case, cannot be had,” he argued.
Mr. Leys further reasoned: “My understanding is that the option for the US (United States) authority is whether in this particular case they are going to disclose it or not."
Meanwhile, it was further noted that another concern raised by the Justice Minister was whether or not the co-operating witnesses were being jointly charged with Christopher Coke.
The Solicitor General noted that his expectation was that based on the charges that were brought against Coke, the co-operating witnesses would have been charged jointly with him. “My advice was that if the Minister had concerns as to whether or not these people should be charged with Coke then that was a material, relevant consideration for her to take into account in the exercise of her discretions,” Mr. Leys said.
“We were convinced that they (the co-operating witnesses) didn’t plead guilty to the charges that Coke was being charged for,” he added.
The Solicitor General will be further cross examined when the Commission continues at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday (Feb. 10). Former Commissioner of Police Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin was also cross examined during Wednesday’s sitting of the Enquiry.
The Commission is also expected to hear testimony from former Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Stewart Saunders and Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Cole on Thursday, while Member of Parliament, Peter Phillips, Deputy Solicitor General, Lackston Robinson and former Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ronald Robinson, will testify afterwards.
CONTACT: ATHALIAH REYNOLDS