Defence now cries foul; says prosecution causing delays

Appliance Trader Limited Pension Fraud

January 24, 2014

THE defence in the ATL Pension fraud trial yesterday flipped the script on the prosecution by charging that their actions were contributing to delays in the completion of the trial which has been under way since last April.

Ironically, it was defence attorney KD Knight, QC, who has throughout the trial been at the centre of comments that he was dragging it out by days-long cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, often going over the same ground.

Knight nodded as QC Frank Phipps complained about the failure of the prosecution to have any of the remaining witnesses present in court yesterday. But lead prosecutor RNA Henriques countered sharply that it was the first time in the long trial that witnesses were not available, and for good reasons, including illness.

Later, when Senior Magistrate Lorna Shelly Williams insisted on setting trial dates beyond February 14, Knight and Deborah Martin, another defence lawyer, had difficulty agreeing on dates, while Henriques declared that he was available “any day”.

In the end, the trial was adjourned until February 10 to give the defence time to take instruction on an evidence chart to be presented by an expert prosecution witness.

The 15 blown-up charts were prepared by Erich Speckin, a US-based forensic chemist and forensic document analyst. They show his findings from tests done on four letters purporting to be consent for distribution of surplus from the ATL pension fund.

On Wednesday, defence attorneys in the matter asked for time to consult their own expert on the matter so they could be prepared to cross-examine Speckin, whose findings from tests on the four letters have been extremely damning.

Patrick Lynch, the former chairman of the pension fund; Catherine Barber, former general manager of the fund; and Dr Jeffrey Pyne, a former director of Gorstew Ltd, the holding company for Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart’s group of companies, are believed to have conspired in the forging of four letters to deceive that consent was given for the distribution of $1.7 billion in pension fund surplus.

The prosecution maintains that the letters, which were presented to Stewart by Barber, were backdated to 1998, 2002, 2005, and 2008. Importantly, Pyne, who signed the letters, had left the company seven months before December 15, 2010 when the alleged forgery was discovered.

Lynch was the alleged mastermind behind the scheme, the court was told.

On Wednesday, Speckin testified in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court, among other things, that the letters, according to his examination and tests, were not signed on their purported dates and that an effort was made to age the ink used to sign them using heat.

Yesterday, Knight and Martin enquired whether Stewart would be called to give evidence, but Henriques said that he would review his transcripts to determine if it would be necessary to call the witness. Henriques reminded that the defence and the magistrate had the option of calling any witness if they so choose.

Reference Link: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/mobile/news/Defence-now-cries-foul–says-prosecution-causing-delays_15866397

Appliance Trader Limited Pension Fraud