KINGSTON — Attorney for the commission enquiring into the FINSAC issue and those representing the Jamaican Redevelopment Foundation (JRF) Inc., clashed verbally on Tuesday April 19 over the cross examination of witnesses.
The conflict was triggered by the Commission’s attorney, Judith Clarke’s decision to cross examine former National Commercial Bank (NCB) managing director, Jeffrey Cobham, at the end of his testimony.
Attorney for the JRF, Gavin Goffe, said that the issue was bound to arise at sometime, because while Ms. Clarke is the attorney for the Commission, and should only be marshalling evidence for the Commission, she has been representing the interests of other persons.
He said that her cross examinations have taken on other interests, which did not across as the Commission’s interests. He objected to her taking on the role of counsel for witnesses without attorneys, while questions are raised when he and other counsels for the JRF raise questions concerning individuals and institutions outside of those they represent.
Ms. Clarke said that while there was no basis for Mr. Goffe to respond when the testimony does not impact on his clients, in marshalling the evidence for the commission for certain affected witnesses, she needs to cross examine other witnesses to advance the process, by dealing with some of the concerns they raised in their testimonies.
According to Ms. Clarke “the hybrid nature” of her appearance, should jot undermine the case for any of the affected persons, whose evidence she has marshalled for the Commission.
Attorney for the NCB, Dave Garcia, asked the Commission to clarify Miss Clarke’s role as their counsel.
Commissioners Worrick Bogle and Charles Ross agreed to allow her to cross examine Mr. Cobham, after consulting with the commission’s legal adviser, retired jurist, Justice Henderson Downer. Ms. Clarke has fiercely represented the rights of several of the FINSAC debtors appearing before the Commission without attorneys to represent them.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor