JIS News

Solicitor General, Douglas Leys, insisted Friday February 11 at the Commission of Enquiry into the handling of the extradition request for Christopher "Dudus" Coke, that he did not engage lawyers from a United States firm on behalf of the Jamaican Government.

Mr. Leys was testifying for the fourth day at the enquiry, which is being held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Under cross examination by Attorney-at-Law, Patrick Atkinson, who is representing Member of Parliament and former Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, Mr. Leys was adamant that, although he had met with lawyers from the U.S. firm, Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, on several occasions between December 16 and 17, 2009 during a visit to Washington D.C., there was no formal agreement between them and the Government of Jamaica.

He also stated that, although he remained in contact with the lawyers, even after he departed Washington D.C., he had no immediate intention of contracting their services.

“After these series of emails, and the resultant conference (call) and the draft of a government press release, did it not become obvious to you that Manatt, Phelps and Phillips thought they were working for the Government of Jamaica?” asked Mr. Atkinson “No sir,” responded the Solicitor General.

Mr. Leys had previously testified that he met with the U.S. lawyers, because he believed they had a better understanding of the U.S. legal system and useful knowledge of extradition matters, however he had no intention of hiring them to work for the Jamaican government.

“I told the representatives of the firm, in very clear language, that we (the Government) were not ready for them as yet, and that we may be ready for them, if and when the need arises,” Mr. Leys told the Commission.

He said he was never told, at any point, during his meeting with the lawyers that either the Government of Jamaica or the Jamaica Labour Party had a contract with the firm.

“There was no such intimation to me, at no point throughout (the meeting),” he said.

The Enquiry continues on Monday (February 14) when former Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Ronald Robinson, Deputy Solicitor General Lackston Robinson and Dr. Phillips will give testimony.

Minister of National Security, Senator Hon. Dwight Nelson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator Hon. Dorothy Lightbourne and Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding are also expected to testify before the Commission.