JIS News

Chairman of the Commission of Enquiry into the extradition of Christopher Coke, Queen's Counsel, Emil George has ruled that Counsels wishing to cross examine witnesses at the enquiry on the Memoranda of Understanding between the United States, the United Kingdom and Jamaica, will be given a copy of the document.

He stressed, however, that upon completion of the cross examination of the witnesses, the document is to be returned to the Chairman.

However, Dr. Lloyd Barnett, Q. C., who is representing Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne, objected to the move, noting that some measure of responsibility has to be applied to the document and its nature.

"If it is marked secret, from my recollection from being a civil servant and a member of the Attorney General's Department that is one of the highest levels of classification of a government document. I think one has to approach the matter with some carefulness, to say the least," Dr. Barnett said.

He added that the enquiry has made considerable progress without the document being circulated, "and I don't think we need to go any further."

On Monday January 31, Mr. George had ruled that the four Memoranda of Understanding could be admitted as evidence.  As result of the ruling, witnesses could be cross examined on the four MOUs, but the documents should be kept in the custody of the Commissioners.

Meanwhile, Attorneys at the Enquiry had their first opportunity on February 2 to read through the highly confidential memoranda of understanding during a 30-minute adjournment.                                                                                   

The documents were not available for perusal Tuesday February 1, as Chairman of the Commission had not brought them to the sitting.          

Also,the cross examination of Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Jeremy Taylor continued.

During his testimony, he reiterated that there was enough evidence presented by the requesting state (United States) that raised a prima facie case against Christopher Coke.   This meant that there was sufficient evidence on which Mr. Coke could be tried in the United States.

Cross-examined by Mr.  K.D. Knight, Q.C., Mr. Taylor noted that the concerns raised by Solicitor General, Douglas Leys were not enough to block the extradition. 

Mr. Taylor was informed by Mr. Leys that Senator Dorothy Lightbourne had concerns about the extradition request for Mr. Coke.

The Deputy DPP said the Justice Minister had concerns about conspiracy, a fair trial, issues concerning confidential witnesses and issues concerning scientific analysis of the narcotics substance alleged in the request.

The enquiry continues tomorrow (February 3), with Mr. Taylor continuing his testimony. Solicitor General, Mr. Douglas Leys is also expected to give his testimony at the enquiry.